Buddhist Practice Everyday

The guy who has used our temple ground as his toilet was finally caught.  It took us two days to catch him but I have picked up his huge poops for at least 7 days!!!  The reason why our temple gate was closed lately was because we tried to catch the guy. 


At first, I had no idea why so many poops were here on the ground.  Every morning and evening, I saw big poops which were so stink.   Then on Wednesday, unbelievably I saw the guy who was about to poop just in front of me! 

I almost forgot I was a priest.   “Hey you!” I didn’t shout it, but I said in my heart loudly.   I’m sorry I had to admit I became angry.   At the same time, I was glad to see his face.  It was not a man but a dog!  My anger went to a dog who left another brand-new poop.

But of course, a dog was innocent.  I was actually upset more to the unknown owner of the dog who were not with the dog.   Slowly I walked to the dog, but he scared my approaching.  Maybe he knew I was upset.  He ran away to the next door and I chased him ….then I lost sight of him.


I went back to the temple and closed the gate….so that a dog cannot get in anymore.  No more poops on the ground!  However just in one hour or less, he came back to the temple again and rested under the Plumeria tree.  Why did he come back?  I didn’t realized it but it looked like he had lived here!    Soon I noticed there was a big puka or hole on the fence and so I filled it with some palm leaves on the fence.  Then I texted our President uncle Kuni to ask contacting human society to get it.  

My original intention to close the gate was to prevent the guy to come in but now quite opposite.   I hoped gates would prevent him to run away from here….I waited human society to come immediately to catch him but they didn't come at all.   I didn’t want to waste time just for waiting so I started gardening in order to multiple plants such as water lilies and ground orchids….Anyway, they finally came in the evening to set a trap to catch a dog. 

Although I was able to work gardening while waiting human society but my mind was so occupied with a dog if he might escape by the time they arrive here.

Then I realized this was not good.   I should be always a master of myself but after seeing a dog, my master of mind is not myself but a dog.   I have been so attached to the dog!  I didn’t like picking up dog’s poop but I didn’t like more such an attachment.   I actually needed to forget it and let it go….


Picking up a poop takes only a few second.  It’s just stink maybe for just seconds, not more than 10 seconds.   But preoccupied thoughts or attachment could take much more time.  I can be easily a slave of the attachment.   I took a very easy solution to let it go by just going to the ocean….

Naturally I became calm and peaceful.  I didn’t upset even though I found poop on the next morning.  I didn’t mind it because my attachment of the stink poop was now gone.  A trap set by human society didn’t work yesterday but worked today.  I feel more sorry for the dog who may be abandoned by the owner.

May all living beings be always happy and kind....

I realized an importance of Buddhist practice of loving-kindness each moment and each day.   Buddhist practice is never ending.  Maybe that's why life cannot be bored....but I renewed my vow to practice Buddhist practice of Mettā bhāvanā or Meditation of loving kindness every day every moment...especially today is a memorable day of "Pearl Harbor."   I'd like to recite Metta Sutra...


Mettā bhāvanā or Meditation of loving kindness

Let myself be always happy and kind.

Let myself be free from disease and mental worries.

Let myself be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon myself.

Let myself be always be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let my intimates be always happy and kind.

Let my intimates be free from disease and mental worries.

Let my intimates be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon my intimates.

Let my intimates be always happy and kind. ( 3 times)


Let all living beings be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings be from disease and mental worries.

Let all living beings be always successful in righteous and reasonbale endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon all living beings.

Let all living beings be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let all living beings irritable to me be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings irritable to me be free from disease and mental worries.

Let all living beings irritable to me be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

let the wisdom of light shine upon all living beings irritable to me.

Let all living beings irritable to me be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let all living beings not happy with me be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings not happy with me be free from disease and mental worries.

Let all living beings not happy with me be always successful in righteous and reasonable endeavors.

Let the wisdom of light shine upon all living beings not happy with me.

Let all living beings not happy with me be always happy and kind. (3 times.)


Let all living beings be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings be always happy and kind.

Let all living beings be always happy and kind.





Whale Season

Whale season has come around here!  Since I saw eyewitness news of humpback whales from Captain Andy's in early October, I’ve been looking forward to the opportunities to go out to the shore for photography.  And finally came a chance!  Yes, a group of whales were there at Makahuena Point.


For me, winter is very exciting season to be able to watch whales but at the same time it’s very annoying season because I’m so crazy spending much time for whales out of my busy schedule.   

As you may know, whales are not always swimming on the surface of the ocean but only once in a while come up to the surface to breathe.  Therefore a chance to photograph whales are not often and actually rare especially in the very beginning of the season.  Therefore lots of time and patience are needed in order to take photos of whales and I guess a kind of “love” is also needed to do so.    

In order to express my love for whales, I made a short poem which is a parody of famous waka poem by Ariwara No Narihira.


If, in this world of ours,

All the humpback whales

Never existed,

My heart in the winter,

Must be calm and peaceful….


Actually, original poem is not about whales but Sakura or Cherry blossom which has represented beauty of Japan.  An original poem in Japanese is written as;





If, in this world                                 (Yono Naka ni)

All the Cherry blossom                    (Taete Sakura no )

Did not existed                                 (Nakariseba)

My heart in the spring                     (Haru no Kokoro wa)    

Must be clam and peaceful            (Nodokekaramashi)


The author is Ariwara no Narihira (825-880) who was a Japanese courtier and outstanding poet in Heian Period.  According to the Tales of Ise, Ariwara no Narihira left this well-known waka poem when he saw beautiful Sakura at Nagisa Palace (currently, Hirakata City in Osaka).  It’s about his unusual love toward Sakura. 

Needless to say, spring is supposed to be a peaceful season.  It’s an ending of winter and climate is very comfortable to stay.  It’s not too cold and not too hot.  And it’s a great season of cherry blossom which attracts many people for many days.  People get excited and long for Sakura to bloom at the same time they worry about weather if rain might ruin the blossom.   Then after full blooming, people feel sad about scattering of the flowers. 

Ariwara no Narihira realized  Sakura could make people happy at the same time Sakura could cause people to be sad or worry, stating that people cannot be calm because of Sakura.  

It is true if there were no Sakura in this world, we might find peace in spring and if there were no Kujira (Whales) I might find peace in winter.  But without Sakura, we might be boring.  Without Kujira (Whales), I might be boring…..What is important is non-attachment and a good balanced life far from the attachment. 

For this season, I want to spend time wisely for whales….not too close, not too far….and yet I seek for the better photograph.

Is it possible?

Well, please continue to check my blog.  

My Past Articles about Humpback Whales:

Humpback Whale

Never Give UP

What is photography?

A group of spinner dolphins passed Makahuena point around 5:20 p.m.  Dolphins are often seen from the shore expecially around Sunrise time.
A group of spinner dolphins passed Makahuena point around 5:20 p.m. Dolphins are often seen from the shore expecially around Sunrise time.
They never showed me breaching but glad to see their blowings since I saw them last time in March this year.
They never showed me breaching but glad to see their blowings since I saw them last time in March this year.





2018 WFB Conference in Japan (2)_The Marroad International Hotel Narita

The biggest hotel in Narita which holds 800 rooms.
The biggest hotel in Narita which holds 800 rooms.
From the top floor restaurant (13F) to view Narita International Airport.
From the top floor restaurant (13F) to view Narita International Airport.
The banquet room "Fuji"
The banquet room "Fuji"


The 29th general conference of WFB was mainly held at the Marroad International Hotel Narita near Narita Airport.  Although I’ve been to Narita Airport so many times, this was my very first time to stay in Narita.  For me, Narita has been always a passing point to go abroad or to go home in Niigata since my first travel abroad in 1992.  I never did sightseeing around the Airport and I never walked around Narita City.   So this conference gave me a good opportunity to stop to see Narita.


The hotel was a mammoth hotel which holds 800 rooms with huge banquet rooms.  It’s so close to the Narita airport and from its top floor (13F) restaurant, a panoramic view of the airport was visible clearly and impressive especially at night.   Although there was nothing but airport nearby, hotel has a convenience store and restaurants.  Therefore I didn’t need to go out from the hotel.


The word “Marroad" which is a name of this hotel sounded like an English word but later found out “Marroad” was an old Japanese word to mean “visitor” or “guest.”   The Kanji for Marroad is written as “客人“ and "Marroad" indicates to give a person to hospitality.   After hearing the meaning of Marroad from the hotel staff, I felt very ashamed because I recalled I learned its meaning a long time ago.  No wonder the word was so familiar.


Registration fee for the conference was unbelievably inexpensive….It was about $300 which included room charge for 4 nights , meals three times a day for 4 days, transportation between Narita and Yokohama, and convention souvenirs with some publications.  It was way much cheaper than any other conventions I’ve ever attended in Hawaii. But later I knew that Japan Buddhist Federation paid a lot to reduce the necessary cost for the delegates from the world and registration fee for observers was actually over $1,000 per person.


From airport, free shuttle bus goes back and forth to hotel at least twice per hour and while waiting for the bus at the airport, I met a group of four from Sri Lanka who came to ask me if I was going to attend a WFB conference.  They were very friendly and talkative.   Because our former Bishop Rev. Wajira Wansa of Big Island is from Sri Lanka, they were so familiar…and soon we became friends.   Generally speaking, names except Japanese names are very difficult to remember but their names sounded like Japanese names and soon I memorized their names.


As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I saw many staffs were working near reception desks.   Obviously there were two tables and two groups; one group is JTB which supports and helps to check in and they also provide various useful information for the participants to stay in Japan.   Another table was for the group of volunteers to help this entire conference.  They were all ministers from different Buddhist sects.   Among them, I saw Rev. Yuken Kikuchi who used to work for the Jodoshu International Affair and she now serves International Affair of the Japan Buddhist Federation.  She introduced me some of her co-workers and led me to check in the room.

I actually didn’t mind sharing a room with another Buddhist monk but because my family always complain I snore so loudly and terribly in addition to talking in my sleep, I requested a single room which cost $80 more.  My application was kind of last minutes and I wasn’t sure if I could get a single room or not.  But when I opened the door, I was so glad to see one bed which was wide enough for a big man to sleep.   As compared to the standard business hotel, the room was pretty spacious and comfortable.  To my surprise, the room number was “457” which was exactly same number of our mail box of Koloa Jodo Mission. 

The door of conference was finally opened......   ( To be continued)

The top floor restaurant
The top floor restaurant
Lobby area.
Lobby area.
Convenience store in this hotel was like oasis in the desert....
Convenience store in this hotel was like oasis in the desert....
Great to have Laudry rooms which open 24hours /7 days a week...Detergent was automatically poured into the washing machine.
Great to have Laudry rooms which open 24hours /7 days a week...Detergent was automatically poured into the washing machine.
Free shuttle bus going to Marroad International Hotel stops at the Bus Stop Number 27.
Free shuttle bus going to Marroad International Hotel stops at the Bus Stop Number 27.





2018 WFB Conference in Japan (1)

It was truly an honor and blessing that I was able to participate in the 29th General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) in Japan from November 6th to November 9th.  In the history of WFB, this was the 4th time for Japan to host the general conference and theme was "Compassion in action."


The conference was the biggest meeting I've ever attended and over 1,000 people got together for the prayer ceremony for World Peace at Sojiji Temple which is one of the two head temples of Soto Zen School.  Officers from WFB, Chief priests and VIPs from 59 major Buddhist schools in Japan, the most Reverends, Venerables, Professors from nearly 200 centers in 41 countries, politicians, members of the National Diet and some business representatives attended the ceremony.


The ceremony was the most interesting and impressive service I've never seen before and I regretted I didn't bring a camera and a tripod with me.  But I did my best to take photos and a few short videos with my new phone and hope to share them with you in the near future.

This is an official commemorative photo of the 29th General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, the World Fellowship of Buddhists Youth, and the World Buddhist University.  Can you find me?(LOL)  Once again, I'm very lucky I was there in the picture but there were tremendously many people working behind the scenes. 

This is a photo when a group photo was about to be taken.  As you see, many priests were not included in the group photo.  The staffs wearing yellow jackets are the ones who can speak English and the staffs in white jackets are volunteers from the Japan Buddhist Federation who supported this entire conference in Japan.  Some more people, maybe a few more hundreds, were working at different sites to welcome us. 


Kudos goes to all volunteers and priests who hosted the conference.   Many of them may not be appeared in the photos but I'm very fortunate to know they were unsung heroes of the conference.


Last but not least, I'd like to thank our Bishop Rev. Koji Jeff Ezaki who gave me a chance to attend this conference.  Also I cannot thank you Rev. Shodo Kobayashi and Rev. Yoshiharu Tomatsu who financially supported my participation.



My past article about Sojiji Temple

Sojiji Temple by Wikipedia






A question makes a difference

Yesterday around noon time, TSA security gate at the Lihue Airport was full of people waiting to check in the boarding zoon.  I was not in a hurry but I assumed it would take more than 15 minutes to go through the gate.   


In the meantime, a TSA worker came to us to reduce a long line.  She addressed us that another security gate was available for the Alaska Airlines customers.  She told us, "If you fly with Alaska, you can go to another gate.  There is no line."  A few people moved but majority of the line didn't move.  I thought it might be faster to use another gate even though I had to walk more but I wasn't sure if Hawaiian customers are OK to use.  So I stayed in a line without asking.


A little by little, people moved toward the security checkpoint and my turn seemed to be coming soon. 25 minutes had already passed.  Then I saw a TSA worker came to say again "Another gate is available for Alaska and United passengers."   This time more people moved to the other gate and then I saw a young couple made a question to her.  He asked "Is another gate for only Alaska and United?  Hawaiian passengers can use?"  I thought this was a great question because this was what I wanted to know.   Surprisingly, she said "YES" and continued, "Any airlines can go but you have to walk to the far end of the terminal."  I saw a young couple moved as soon as they got an answer. 


Soon after, finally my turn came and I was able to catch a plane.  To my surprise, a young couple who asked if they could use another gate, got on board right after my boarding.  This means another gate was much more faster.


On the way to HNL, I was thinking about this event. ....If I asked a TSA worker if I could use another gate, most probably I wouldn't need to wait for 30 minutes even though I would walk more...but probably not more than 5 minutes because Lihue airport is not big.   And it seemed obvious that more and more people would try another gate if a TSA worker told us "any passenger" can use another gate.  I fully realized importance of the question since information is always limited but it can be unlimited if we make more questions!


Shakespeare left a great line in his play Hamlet,  "To be or not to be:that is the question" but I realized at this case for me "To ask or not to ask" was a question.   The man who didn't ask...waited 30 minutes and the man who asked...didn't need to wait!   






Kawaikini is the highest peak of Mount Waialeale which is known as the wettest spot on Earth.  As you know, it is located almost in the center of the Island and it is often covered by clouds.  Therefore it is said it's difficult to view this summit throughout the year.  

However it is often visible from Koloa in the early morning and after 9:00 am, more and more clouds rapidly appear to make this summit invisible. 


Every morning, without fail, before going to the temple, I look at this mountain to check today's weather.  When it's not raining, the summit can be clearly seen way before sunrise.  And just like the meaning of Kawaikini (the multitudinous water),  once in a while after the heavy rain, the mountain gets several rainfalls which disappear so soon in an hour.   Without knowing, this mountain has been a part of my Kauai life and I always feel great if I see no clouds on this mountain.

By the way, I recently found out the photo of Kawaikini at Wikipedia was not Kawaikini, but Kahili Mountain.  Elevation of Kawaikini is 5,243 feet (1,598 m)  while Kahili mountain is about 3,000 feet (914m).  What a big difference and mistake!   However I think this mistake is pretty understandable because....

from Koloa, Kahili Mountain looks higher than Kawaikini! Once again, Kahili in elevation is about 3,000 feet while Kawaikini is the highest peak of the island which is 5,243 feet (1,598 m) .  However because of the laws of perspective, the mountain in far distance looks smaller and the mountain closer to us looks much bigger.  I don't want to embarrass the person who contributed the photo to Wikipedia but I think this is a wonderful mistake that make us realize that..........truth can be easily misunderstood if we are too close!  At the same time, this is a wonderful example that you cannot always trust Wikipedia 100%!!!   






Calligraphy Brush

A Japanese term “Sanpitsu(三筆)” which literally means “three brushes” refers to the three greatest calligraphers in the Heian Period (794-1185) in Japan.   They are;



1.       Emperor Saga ( 786-842)


2.       Tachibana no Hayanari (782-842)


3.       Kukai / Kobo Daishi (774-835).


Among them, Kukai is probably the most popular calligrapher and his posthouse priest title “Kobo Daishi” is also well-known and appeared in Japanese sayings regarding calligraphy.


One of them is “Kobo Fude wo Erabazu.”  This saying is about proficiency of the calligraphy.  It literally means “Master Kobo doesn’t need to choose a brush.”  Because he was so proficient in calligraphy, he was believed to do a great job of calligraphy with any brush.  Therefore, this saying is usually used as a meaning of English saying ““cunning mason works with any stone.” 


However this saying is not just making boast of Master Kobo’s proficiency.  Nor it does not encourage us not to choose a brush or not to choose tools or materials.  The truth is, I think, opposite.  In order for us to be proficient, it’s very important to choose which tools to use.  And it is actually professional people who carefully choose its own tools to use.


Generally speaking, Saying is not for the people who are called “master” but for the people in general to become better or to lead a good life.  Therefore, true message of “Kobo Fude wo Erabazu” must be omitted and hidden.  It’s not to work with any brush but we need to choose a brush for calligraphy.


What a discovery.  I got this hidden message after thinking about levels of proficiency starting from utmost level.



1. Utmost master level….  No need to choose a tool. 

2.  Master level……............Master can choose an appropriate tool and tell if this tool is good or not. 

3. Ordinally people level……We just blame tools. 



Once again, Master Kobo’s level of calligraphy is beyond our reach.  It’s an ideal proficiency but not realistic.   We cannot be like Master Kobo who didn’t need to choose a brush but we ordinally people need to choose a brush. 

They say “a bad carpenter blames its tools.”  But at our Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo Mission, it’s not shame to blame a brush.  It’s ok to complain it but what is more important is to try to use a different brush.  After all, we hardly realize whether it’s good or bad until we experience both good and bad brushes.

Our next Calligraphy Class will be on Sunday, November 25th.  Please let me know if you are interested in the Japanese Calligraphy.

I'm sorry there will be no Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo Mission on Sunday, November 4th since I'll be off the island.





Celsius & Fahrenheit

When I was staying in my family temple in Japan in August,  I had opportunities to talk to the temple members.  Just like here, one of the common topics of the conversation was about weather.  Surprisingly most of them know exact temperature of today's weather and they often asked me … many degrees is the temperature in Hawaii?  This was a very difficult question because I didn’t have a thermometer here and I was not interested in the exact temperature. 


In fact, my own scale of temperature has only 5 levels based upon how I feel.  They are….Very hot, hot, ok, cool, cold.   Those are all I needed to express the temperature.  Of course, I knew it was about 90 degree in Hawaii during daytime, but I never thought of the Celsius temperature.   So whenever I was asked about temperature, I couldn't answer the exact number.  Instead, I explained like this, “It’s hot but we never have an air conditioner.”    This is how I bought thermometers and finally I started to look at the temperature here at Koloa.


To check thermometer was interesting.  I can get both Celsius and Fahrenheit at a glance.   Before I had this thermometer, I just felt it was “very hot” inside the house.  But now “very hot” has an objective number.  I was surprised it was 35 °C or 95 °F.  I thought Hawaii was much cooler than Japan in Summer time, but now I knew it was almost as hot as Japan!  This thermometer surely made me interested in the temperature both in Celsius and Fahrenheit.


My understanding of the fundamental difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius is an object of the temperature.   In Fahrenheit, it’s based on the temperature of Europe where Gabriel Fahrenheit spent.   They made the coldest temperature as zero and the hottest temperature as 100.   On the other hand, Celsius is based on the temperature of water, which I think more "scientific."  They made the freezing point of water as zero and the boiling point of water as 100 °C.   Interestingly -40 degree in Celsius is exactly -40 degree in Fahrenheit.  On the other hand, average human body temperature is 37 degree C and 98.6 degree F. 

I definitely think Celsius is much easier and convenient but as long as living in the US, I'd better to know Fahrenheit scale, too.




Celsius temperature scale

Fahrenheit temperature scale

Denoted by

°C (Degree C)

°F (Degree F)

In Japanese



Accepted in:

Almost all countries except the US, Belize, Bahamas, Liberia, Cayman Islands.

The United States, the Bahamas, Belize, Liberia, Cayman Islands

Invented & Proposed by:

Andres Celsius (1701-1744)

Swedish astronomer

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit


Dutch-Germon-Polish physicist

Year of Invention



Body Temperature

37 ℃


The Boiling Point of Water


212 °F

The Freezing Point of Water

0 °C

32 °F

Absolute Zero

-273.15 °C

-459.67 °F

Conversion Formula

(°F - 32) / 1.8 = °C

e.g.  135°F =  ? °C

(135 – 32) ÷1.8  =57.22

°C x 1.8 + 32 = °F

e.g.    35 °C  = ? °F

(35 x 1.8) + 32 =95 °F






Buddha Belly

I've been quite interested in names of the plants both in English and in Japanese.  Before I came to Kauai, I didn't care even if I didn't know the name of the plant but now I cannot leave it unknown.  Especially after I started working as a tour guide for Japanese tourists, knowledge on plants are very useful and well-received by tourists.  As soon as I encounter the plant I've never seen before, I take a photo and look for the name. 


As you know, every plant has its binomial name which is usually Latin and also each language has its own common names.  I feel so interesting how plant was named.  Usually there are more than one common names and they are named after what it looks like or the characteristics of the plant.  Therefore the more common names I know, the deeper I get to know the plant.


The photo above is a plant called "Jatropha podagrica."  It was at the parking of Kaua'i Kookie Factory in Hanapepe when I first saw this plant.  At that time I didn't know the name but soon I had a chance to find out the name because Botanical Garden was selling this plant for their fundraiser during their Cinco De Mayo.  Then I was lucky to know this common name as "Buddha Belly" and started growing it.

The binomial name "Jatropha podagrica" in Latin literally means "Jatropha (iatros +trophe) =physic nut", "poda=foot" and "grica=gouty."  It seems that the name of podagrica was named after the puffy swollen stalk or stem which is very distinguished.

Therefore, other common names such as "gout plant", "goutystalk" , "bottleplant" are considered to be named after this distinguished stalk, too. 

Another common name "Buddha Belly" is same thing.  Puffy stalk of the plant evokes typical image of "Happy Fat Buddha" whose belly is puffy.

People call this image as "Buddha" however the model of this fat laughing person is not Buddha but a Chinese monk called "Budai" or "Hotei" in Japanese.


Budai (布袋) which literally means "Cloth sack", allegedly lived around the 10th century in China.  His name refers to the bag that he is conventionally depicted as carrying as he wanders aimlessly.  His jolly nat”ure, humorous personality ,and eccentric lifestyle distinguishes him from most Buddhist masters or figures.   Chinese nickname "笑佛” which means "smiling Buddha" must be source to call it "Buddha Belly." 


On the other hand, Japanese name of this plant "Sango-aburagiri" came from the red flower, not fat stalk.   "Sango" means "Coral" and "Aburagiri" means "Vernicia" or "tung-oil tree."   Because red flower looks like Sango or Coral, "Sango-aburagiri" was named.   All common names represent characteristic of this plant.   But common name "Buddha Belly" sounds most positive and happy.  I'm very happy to see my blooming "Buddha Belly" and look forward to getting seeds in the future.






Food Safety

The State of Hawaii, Department of Health changed its regulation for the food safety and as of September 2018, a new mandate for Food Handlers Education certificate requires at least one employee present at every food establishment during normal hours to have a formal food handlers training level certification.   


Of course we are not a restaurant but because we do have Bon Dance to prepare/provide food at the temple kitchen, our temple 

President made arrangement for me and himself to take a free 2.5 hour certification class on safe food handler’s class last Wednesday.  Before going to this class, I was a little nervous to take a test which requires 70% to pass.  But at the beginning of the class, I was so relieved to hear what our instructor said.   You can retake test two more times if you didn’t pass the test!


The class was actually very interesting with lots of important facts and knowledge on safety of the food, virus, pests, and the appropriate way to prepare, handle and store food.  At first, I was trying to take memo for everything which was projected on the screen.  But soon I gave up writing all.  Instead I started taking photos of the slides projected on the screen.


There were exactly 40 multiple-choices questions and no time limit for the test.  Questions were easy, but I took more time to make it sure for the correct answers.  Because I passed the test, I should not have complaints but for the future better education, I think to check answers at the site right after the test, will be more beneficial and useful to know what was wrong. 


Needless to say, improvement is always possible if you can notice you made a mistake and without realizing your mistake, it hardly gets better.   In fact, I had two questions that I was not sure the answers and I thought it would be nice to have time to get the right answers at the site, rather than just to know “pass or not pass.” 


The certificate I got will be good for three years and will meet the 2017 requirement** of the Hawaii Administrate Rules, Chaper 11-50 Food Safety Code.  Also I'm glad my card is good not only at Koloa Jodo but also at another facility such as Kapaa Jodo Mission.  


* 11-50-20(c) Food Protection Certification


(1) The person-in-charge shall demonstrate knowledge of basic food safety by successfully completing a food safety course that is part of a department food safety program or other program approved by the department.






Thoughts on regret

A Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard left an interesting saying about regret. 


“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it either way.”


Of course, this is not always true since we can find both happy couples and happy singles.   However, at least one thing is true about this saying.  There are only two kinds of “regret” in this world; one is a regret on what you did.  Another one is a regret on what you didn’t do.    “Marry” and “don’t marry” or “Did” and “Didn’t do” are completely different choice and different way.  But once we choose it, there is always possibility of regret because of the two choices we have every moment … whether we do it or not to do it.   In other words, two kinds of regrets are nothing but two kinds of actions we do every moment.


In our daily life, there are many actions or things we do….such as wake up, pray, eat, walk, read newspaper, work, study, talk, watch TV and so on…yes, we do many things in a day.  However, all actions we do can be divided into two types of actions.  They are “to do” and “not to do.”   That’s all.  This means whatever we do something, we always have a choice “to do it” or “not to do it.”    Then once we chose it out of two choices or two ways, another choice you didn’t take could be the source of regret.  


Of course, some daily actions such as eating, walking, reading or watching hardly produce regret since we can always redo it or do it later even if you chose “not to do.”   But most actions which require to choose “to do” or “not to do” at this moment cannot be redone.   Once we choose it, we cannot take it back and this is the very reason we regret.


Probably in the past, you’ve experienced you were thinking whether you should buy it or not.  In many cases, you buy it because it’s necessary but sometimes you buy it because it’s cheap.   And sometimes the one you bought was quite useless and you regret on what you bought it.   The more expensive it was, the more you regret it.  On the other hand, you sometimes regret on what you didn’t buy, especially when you are travelling.   So both shopping and no shopping can be the very source of regret.  


However, I found out there was an exception!   I noticed there was one “regret-free” action.   That’s the shopping in USA, especially at Walmart. 


In Japan, as you may know, returning policy is very limited.  You cannot return all items at all stores.   Only certain stores accept returning if the product has defects.  You need an appropriate reason to return the item. However, returning policy is guaranteed here in the US.  For me, it was amazing that you can return items with no special reasons.   This means you are “regret-free” when you shop in US.   You might regret it if you didn’t buy it, but you won’t regret it even if you bought it because of this returning policy.  


As you know, Black Friday is coming soon next month.   If you are thinking whether you should buy it or not at Walmart, you should buy it because if you didn’t buy it on sale, that’s it.  There is little chance to buy it with that price and there is high possibility that you may regret on what you didn’t buy.   And if you bought it, there should be no regret because of the return policy.   If you think you don’t need it, you can return it within 90 days.


It may be ashamed but I’m a repeat customer who often use customer service for returning.  No special reason for returning is actually necessary but they always ask me, “What’s wrong?”  My conventional phrase to answer it is “Nothing’s wrong. My wife just didn’t like it.”   Then they accept returning.  






If you wish to reach the highest, begin with the lowest

Publilius Syrus (85BC- 43 BC) was a Syrian poet and comic dramatist in ancient Rome around the last century BC.   I had never read his writings in Japan but nowadays I enjoy reading his writings through internet.  You may not be familiar with his name but you must be familiar with his sayings such as


“No one knows he can do until he tries.”

“It is not every question that deserves an answer.”

"It is better to learn late than never.”


There are plenty more of his sayings but probably the most famous Publilius’s saying can be “A rolling stone gathers no moss.”  I knew this was originally Latin, but I never knew this was credited to the writer of the first century BC.  This was how I became interested in Publilius Syrus and bought a book called "The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave."  


To my surprise, Publilius Syrus was once a Syrian slave and taken to the provincial Rome when he was 12 years old.  However, he was good at wit and mimicking people and gradually won the favour of his master, who eventually freed and educated Publilius.   According to the Wikipedia, Publilius was perhaps even more famous as an improviser, and received from Caesar himself the prize in a contest in which he vanquished all his competitors, including Decimus Laberius.  Now his fame is worldwide beyond times.... more than 2,000 years.   


He left a saying “If you wish to reach the highest, begin with the lowest” and it sounds true because of his real experience from being a slave to the Roman celebrity.   I think this saying indicates importance of positive attitude no matter how miserable you may be experiencing.   Realizing your situation as the lowest means you cannot be lower anymore.  Once you experience being the lowest, anything you do can be higher and positive. 


This understanding is actually very similar to the basic teaching of Buddhism which regards life as suffering.  Connotation of suffering may lead you to misunderstand Buddhism as a negative religion.  But realization of suffering is actually positive attitude to accept current situation.   This is just like common phrase, “Prepare for the worst” when we receive news of approaching hurricane.


As Kaua’i experienced hurricanes in the past, you know hurricanes are very scary.  It could take our lives and houses away.   However it’s inevitable and not only hurricane but other disasters could happen anytime in the future.  No one can stop nature.   Then what can we do?   There are not many things we can do but the best we can do is to prepare for the worst…. Preparing extra food, water and all the necessities…The more you do, the less we worry.  Yet we cannot get rid of all worries.  But that’s all we can do.


On the other hand, if you don’t’ prepare anything for hurricane, smaller damages can be really something and critical.  Life is same thing.  If we are not preparing for suffering, we might feel so much suffering when misfortune comes to us.  But if we can prepare for the worst suffering, we can always feel less suffering and more blessing because of the preparation.  Buddhist understanding of life as suffering is the first step to prepare to work with suffering which is surely coming to us, just like hurricane.

Once again, we cannot stop natural disasters.  We cannot change nature.   And it’s hard to change people’s ideas and even one’s spouse’s thoughts.  But Publilius’s saying tell us…what is important is not to change the situation but to change our understanding to accept the situation.   How?  He says nothing difficult…“begin with the lowest."





Matsuri Kauai 2018

2018 Matsuri Kauai, presented by the Kauai Japanese Cultural Society, will be held tomorrow on Saturday, September 22nd from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue.   There will be various cultural exhibits and performances such as Taiko drumming, Mochi pounding, Japanese dances all day long. There will be some food sales, too.   

This event is free and open to public!!!





The biggest defeat can be the biggest victory


The biggest defeat of my life was a fact I started smoking.                  The biggest victory of my life was a fact I quit smoking.                                 - Kosen Ishikawa - 


It’s been almost 10 years since I quit smoking.  Now I almost forgot about pleasure of smoking and I never want cigarette again but it was actually very hard for me to quit smoking. 


 I started smoking when I was 20 years old.  I was a college student in Yokohama but found little meaning to study various “unnecessary” subjects.    Of course, I was wrong but young.  I ran away from taking some exams and I started travelling the Pacific side of the Honshu, Japan with my brand-new backpack.  At that time, I was so inspired by the life of Kobou Daishi who spent youth time as travelling and I regarded this backpack trip as a wild training to know the world.


I visited many temples, shrines and famous sightseeing sites during the day time and at night, I slept on the benches at the train stations.   At that time, there was no smart phone or tablet with me.   While spending lonely nights at the benches of the stations, I started missing “something.”  If I were a beer-drinker, I probably wouldn’t need a cigarette, but I first bought a cigarette from the vending machine at Toyohashi station in Aichi prefecture. I remember I was looking at the cigarette package for a few hours , thinking whether I should stop starting cigarette.   But I defeated.  I bought a lighter at the convenience store at midnight and started smoking.  My first impression of smoking was “NOOOOO Good!!!  It was nothing but smoky.  However, I assumed if I continued smoking, sooner or later, I should feel good.   So I smoked cigarette again and again till I felt good.  After all, I didn’t feel good on that night but  on the next day, I found myself addicted to the cigarette.  This was my biggest regret and the biggest defeat of my life since I spent over 17 years and plenty money for the habits of smoking cigarettes even after I came to Kauai.


Because of this biggest defeat, however, I felt supreme sense of victory when I was successful to quit smoking.   Quitting smoking brought me more time, more saving money, more hobbies and better heath and of course more weight but the most important fact to quit smoking was to deepen my understanding of Buddhism.  In addition, this success gave me lots of confidence to deliver the Buddhist teachings because of the triumph over the most difficult and tough battle. 


The secret to quit smoking for me was actually to get back to the basics of the Buddhism which regards life as suffering.   Smoking was same thing.  It is not pleasure but more suffering is caused by the smoking.   It’s very simple but this simple discovery of “suffering” in smoking actually made me wish to be free of suffering.   At the same time, I did more Nenbutsu to get rid of the desires of smoking.  Of course, I’m thankful to my wife, too, who gave me good food.


Once again, the biggest defeat of my life was a fact I started smoking and the biggest victory of my life so far was a fact I quit smoking cigarette….Life is not always fun, pleasant and happy rather more mistakes and sufferings are always happening around us.  But if we rightly realize our sufferings and mistakes around us, there should be always ways to get out of suffering.   

                                                                         Namu Amida Butsu






Betcho = Niigata Ondo?


What is Niigata Ondo?  I was very curious when I first heard it at Zenshuji a few years ago.  I actually came from Niigata, but I had never heard it before.  Then I got it when I saw them dancing at the very end of Bon Dance.   It was not a newly introduced song but a very traditional song which is usually played at the end of Bon Dance here on Kauai.  It’s been known as “Betcho.”


However, Kauai Soto Zen Temple renamed this song as “Niigata Ondo” since their president Mr. Gerald Hirata found out the meaning of “Betcho” after some researches.  It’s an argot or secret Japanese language to mean female’s genital organ or intercourse.   I’m sure people must be shocked to know its meaning.   Therefore it was kind of natural reaction to avoid to use this word of “Betcho” since Bon Dances are held at temples.   This is how “Betcho” was renamed.


However, I want to continue to use the word “Betcho” because this is the name of beloved song we have inherited from the predecessors on Kauai.  In addition, there seems to be already “Niigata Ondo” in Japan which is completely different song/dance from the one played on Kauai.  I don’t think it’s a good idea to use “Niigata Ondo” just because they say…the song was transmitted from Niigata.   


What we need is not to change the name but to change how to understand the name.   Why female genital organ is used as a name of the song?   And what is the meaning of intercourse in the song of “Betcho”?  

I regard one of the important meanings to hold Bon dance is to renew our appreciation to our ancestors.  Then how we honor our ancestors?

Of course, prayers and chanting sutras are important but one of the best ways to honor ancestors may be to show family’s property.   Traditionally family’s prosperity means more children.   The more children we get, the happier our ancestors must be.   If this understanding is true, “betcho” plays a significant role for the family’s prosperity.   Needless to say, without "Betcho", no children is born.


Interestingly, in the song of traditional Betcho, there are two ways of dancing are used by the two groups of dancers.  They are dancing in the completely different direction in the circle.  One group is dancing clockwise and another group is dancing anti-clockwise.  If you look these two different dances as a whole, I always see “Betcho” as boys meeting girls.   Therefore, I could understand the meaning of “Betcho” as “man and woman.”


Some years ago, there was a popular song called “Hokkai Bon Uta” was played at Bon Dances on Kauai.  This was a song from Hokkaido and Bon towel or Tenugui is used for the song.  I don’t know when it was taken out from the Bon Dance numbers but it’s been a while since I danced this song last time.


 Then I was so happy to find this dancing from the old Digital videotapes I took in 2003!  when I looked at the dancing carefully, I became excited because I found so much similarity to the song called “Betcho.”   Then I got a right keywords of “Betcho and Hokkai Bon Uta.”


I found out “Hokkai Bon Uta” was actually created from the song called “Betcho-bushi” after the World War II.   It’s even introduced in the Wikpedia article, stating  “Hokkai Bon Uta” originated to the song called “Betcho” which were full of dirty slang lyrics.   This was mainly danced by the workers at coal mines in Hokkaido but after revising lyrics and tune, it was renamed as “Hokkai Bon Uta.”   Especially after Mihashi Michiya sang this “Hokkai Bon Uta” it became a hit and well known throughout Japan.


Now I’m definitely opposed to rename the song of “Betcho” as Niigata Ondo.   Rather I’m in favor to keep using “Betcho.”    Meaning?    Instead of explaining it by words, it will be great if we all can show its dancing.  







We are so saddened to hear the loss of our Bishop Yubun Narashiba of Jodo Mission of Hawaii,  who once served Koloa Jodo Mission from 1987 to 1997.   We started praying for him when we received a news that he was taken to the Queens Hospital on July 19 and hoped his earliest recovery but passed away on July 20th.  It was a heart attack.


We, family and members of Koloa Jodo Mission express our deepest sympathy and condolence to Mrs. Narashiba and family.  We cannot but pray...Namu Amida Bu.  


Our prayer, Nenbutsu or Namu Amida Bu, is not a magical word to cure disease but is a miracle word to lead us to the ultimate bliss of Amida Buddha.  


Mahalo and Aloha to Bishop Narashiba.  Namu Amida Butsu.





Good thing comes in a pair

The grabber tool to pick up things without bending knees is so useful!   It's now on sale at Costco and its price just went down to $8.99!!!

I'm not sales person at Costco but I just fell in love at first sight.  Now I cannot help commending this tool after using it for a month.   There are two grabbers as a set.


Why do they sell two as a set?  All of sudden, the question came up to my mind.  And if you get two, how do you use it? and what is the meaning of two for you?   It may be a trifle matter but I just thought of the meanings of two....



One grabber is for you and another one is for your spouse?  One is to use now and another one is to use for later.  One is to pick up trash and one is to pick up non-trash?  One is for me and one is for you?  There could be many meanings of "Two."


For me, two grabbers is for inside and one is for outside.  I do use it in many occasions but the best use of this grabber so far is when I pick up fallen Ti leaves.  It's hard to pick up with broom but with this grabber, I can get fall ti leaves so easily. 


Anyway, two grabbers from Costco is so good just like a Chinese saying "good thing comes in a pair."   





Wheat and Chaff


Jumble of good and bad is expressed as “玉石混淆(Gyoku-seki Konkou)” in Kanji, which literally means “mixture of ball (jewel) and stone.”    In English, it may be called “mixture of wheat and chaff” or “thread and thrum.”   They both indicate “good and bad coexists together.”


Here at Koloa Jodo Mission, my favorite jade-color bowels are exactly “玉石混淆(Gyoku-seki Konkou)” or "thread and thrum"!  Plastic bowels are actually second-handed from Koloa Elementary School and they have been here for over 30 years!

On the other hand, jade color glass bowel is…OMG….a popular antique ware of the “Fire King Ware!”  which must be made before 1976!    Good and bad, precious and common things are naturally here....and  we are proud to keep using  old junks and treasures together.








Bon Dance was not prepared in a day but cleaned up in a day.


Mahalo nui loa to those who helped us celebrating our 2018 Bon Dance.   I’ve made a video to thank you very much!  At the ending part, I put my message.


During Bon Dance, I was surprised to receive a paycheck.  Wow, I got a big raise.  Working for two temples, two Bon Dances and two Toro Nagashi….finally I got a high evaluation!  However I soon realized this was not a raise but just a regular salary for the past three months.  During the past months, we have been so busy that our President forgot to pay me and I forgot to request it.  I thought this was a blessing since I didn’t need to think of money for what I worked.  In addition, now I feel….I got a surprise bonus! (LOL)   


But at the same time, I feel sorry….I’m the only one who receive a paycheck from our temple.   Our president has worked almost full time for our temple for the past months but that was all volunteer jobs.  Besides he brought his entire family, relatives and friends together to work for Bon Dance.   And of course, there are some more members who brought their families and relatives to here.   


What a dedication we have received during Bon Dance!!!  Bon Dance always make me realize my life is deeply supported by people's unselfish dedication and kindness.   And I even feel for their sacrifices to help our temple.  But because I can feel "sorry,"  I want to return "kindness" to people.   I want to be useful and helpful not only in the temple but also in the community and society in the near future.

Once again, thank you so very much! 

This is a shorter version of my message.

Longer version....This may be boring for non-helpers.





2018 Toro Nagashi by Kapaa Jodo Mission

Kapaa Jodo Mission will sponsor 2018 Toro Nagashi Ceremony on this Sunday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Wailua River State Park (photos above.)   All are invited and welcome at the park.  A few more lanterns may be available to purchase.   Please contact me as soon as possible if you'd like to dedicate a lantern for your beloved one.   


For your information, Koloa Jodo Mission just started accepting orders for another lantern ceremony which will be held at Kukuiula Boat Harbor on Sunday, August 5, 2018.   






The gravestone of the First Japanese Immigrant to Hawaii arrvied in 1868.

Some time ago, uncle Dick of Anahola taught me the first Japanese immigrant rest in the graveyard of Koolau Protestant Church.  Then he continued to tell me he remembered one of Japanese Royal princes visited the site when the prince came to Kauai a few decades ago.  This was very interesting because I knew the year of 2018 would be the 150th Anniversary since the first Japanese group called "Gannenmono" arrived in Hawaii.  I never knew there was Gannenmono rest here on this island.  I wanted to find out the exact location of gravestone and wanted to offer my prayer.


Uncle Dick actually offered to take me to the site next time when I go to have a graveyard service at Anahola.  But I couldn't wait "next time" in June and whenever I went to the North, I stopped by at the graveyard to look for the stone.   The graveyard was not so big and I thought I could find it easily.  However some characters were hard to tell because of the green moss stick to the stones.   I took time to look at all gravestones at least three times but couldn't find it until uncle Dick led me to the site yesterday.


Because of my experiences I couldn't find it by myself, I was super curious about the location I missed to reach.  As soon as Uncle Dick and family arrived at the parking space of the grave, I saw uncle walked to the direction I never expected.  That was completely opposite direction of the Japanese gravestones.  The area was for the Christians.  Then he stopped at the stone which contained the sign of Holy Cross!  


What?  I knew I was familiar with this stone.  I remember I passed this stone but the stone was for Christian.  Uncle Dick told me, "Sensei, this is the stone.  When I first visited here, the stone was laid down.  But now it looks somebody fixed it."


The stone says "Beloved Grandfather Arai Bunto - 1844- Sept.19, 1925 - The First Japanese Immigrant to Hawaii Arrived 1868."  You cannot imagine how I was happy to reach this stone finally.   Because I looked at all stones at least three times, I remember this stone as "Beloved Grandfather" with Holy Cross.   But I was so preoccupied with a thought that the first Japanese immigrant was Buddhist, my consciousness couldn't read all the characters of the stone.  At a glance of holy cross, I never thought this was for the first Japanese immigrant to Hawaii.


Needless to say, nobody actually told me the first Japanese group were Buddhists.  I just had a bias or preconceived idea from the beginning.  I just imagined the first Japanese immigrant should have a Japanese style gravestone and he must be a Buddhist.  But these wall of my prejudices actually prevented me to find a stone.  Because I had such a strong preconceived image of the first Japanese immigrant, I missed to look at the truth.


This became another great experience for me to realize how open mind is important to see the truth.   We think we always see the truth.  But the truth is not always visible if we have prejudices or bias or preconceived ideas.  Of course, sometimes knowledge can be helpful to find the truth but at the same time, knowledge can be obstacle too if we depend on it too much.  So if we seek for the truth, we should be away from any prejudices, biases and preconceived ideas.  Need to open toward the truth because the truth is beyond any judgment. 







2018 Bon Dance Season has started at Kapaa Jodo Mission

2018 Bon Dance Season has just started on Kauai.

Did you miss it?  But please don't worry...Bon Dance continues to

the following temples during Summer.   Also I will follow up with videos!


June 15-16   West Kauai Hongwanji Mission (Hanapepe)
June 22-23   Lihue Hongwanji Mission
June 29-30   Waimea Shingon Mission
July 6-7      Koloa Jodo Mission
July 13-14   West Kauai Hongwanji Mission (Waimea)
July 20-21   Kapaa Hongwanji Mission
July 27-28   Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Mission
Aug. 3-4   Kauai Soto Zen Temple





2018 Bon Dance!

Can you believe it?   It's already Bon Dance Season!!!


This year, the first Bon Dance of nine bon dances hosted by the Kauai Buddhist council will launch at Kapaa Jodo Mission on this Friday and Saturday, June 8 & 9 from 7:30 p.m to 10:30 p.m.  


Bon Dance is a part of Buddhist Festival known as “O-bon” which honors the spirits of ancestors who are believed to come back to this world during summer time.  In order to welcome the spirits, families get together to have a service, pray and dance together with a big feast.  


This year, Kauai Buddhist council temples celebrate and honor the 150th Anniversary of the first arrival of the group of Japanese Immigrants to Hawaii since 1868.  Because 1868 was called “Meiji Gannen” meaning “The First Year of the Meiji Era”, those who reached Hawaii in 1868 have been called "Gannen-mono” meaning "First Year Folks.”   Special prayer will be offered at each temple and some temples will have special features celebrating “Gannenmono.”


At the first bon dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission,  there will be Taiko Drumming Performance by Sensei Aki Conquest and Joyful Noise at the intermission on Friday, June 8 and Okinawan Eisa Dance will be performed on Saturday, June 9.   


Local food such as Kauai's unique "Flying Saucer" will be available from 6:00 p.m.   All are invited and welcome.   For more information, please call 635-8530.



2018 Dates





June 8 & 9

Kapaa Jodo Mission

4524 Hauaala Road Kapaa, HI 96746  Ph: 808-822-4319

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 pm on June 8 & 9




June 3

@10:30 am

June 15 & 16

West Kauai Hongwanji (Hanapepe) 1-3860 Kaumualii Highway Hanapepe, HI 96716 Ph: 808-335-3195

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00 pm on June 15 (Hatsubon)

Bon Service Sunday, August 12 @9:00 am


June 22 & 23

Lihue Hongwanji Mission

3-3530 Kuhio Highway Lihue, HI 96766 Ph: 808-245-6262

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 p. m. on June 22 & 23

Hatsubon Service:

June 17@9:00am

June 29 & 30

Waimea Shingon Mission 3770 Pule Road Waimea, HI 96766 Ph: 808-338-1854

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m. on

June 29 & 30

(*Hatsubon on Friday)


July 6 & 7

Koloa Jodo Mission 3480 Waikomo Road Koloa, HI 96756 Ph: 808-742-6735

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.


Bon Service


Sunday, July 1st @10:30 am

July 13 & 14

West Kauai Hongwanji (Waimea) 4675 Menehune Road Waimea, HI 96796

Ph: 808-335-3195

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00pm on July 13 (Hatsubon)

Bon Service

Sunday, August 12 at 9:00 am


July 20 & 21

Kapaa Hongwanji Mission 4-1170 Kuhio Highway Kapaa, HI 96746 Ph: 808-822-4667

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 20


Sunday, July 15     9:00 am, Family Bon Service


July 27 & 28

Waimea Higashi Hongwanji 9554 Kaumualii Highway Waimea, HI 96796

Ph: 808-338-1847

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m. on

July 27 & 28

(*Hatsubon on Friday)


August 3 & 4

Kauai Soto Zen Temple 1-3500 Kaumualii Highway Hanapepe, HI 96716

Ph: 808-245-2841, 808-346-4650

7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

6:00 pm on Aug 3 & 4

Memorial services








Bon Dance Practice at Koloa Jodo Mission


It's already May and Bon Dance is coming soon on Kauai.  Koloa Jodo Mission will start Bon Dance Practice here from Tuesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m.   As you know, this year, we get a new song, "Dai Tokyo Ondo" and the following video will be helpful to learn this song.


For your information, Bon Dance Practice are held at the following temples. 


Kapaa Hongwanji       Mondays @7:00 p.m. 


Koloa Jodo                  Tuesdays @6:30 p.m. from May 8


WKH Hanapepe         Thursdays @6:00 p.m.  


Lihue Hongwanji        Fridays @ 7:30 p.m. from May






Reading a receipt

Honestly, I wished to take a vacation after Hanamatsuri but as soon as I came back to temple, I had to start working for the tax since its due date was coming so soon. 


My tax preparation is supposed to be easy however I have much more outgo for the temple.  As a result, I needed to review all the receipts which have been here and there in the office.  So it took me about 1.5 days to clean up office first and then I can face reviewing receipts. 


I'm so glad I didn't lose all the necessary receipts and documents.  However a big problem's sometimes very hard to identify the items on the receipt!  


For the picture above, a receipt from Walmart says "10CT 2 EXP."  What is this?


I can tell "CT" means "count" but I don't know about "EXP."  For me this was like a code!!!  Can you tell what is this? 


Of course, because receipts have date and time you shopped, I'd better try to recall it with a hint of date/time and other shopping items.   But I competely forgot it because the date was way back to February last year.  if you don't remember what you bought, how do you identify the item?


This time I took a look at the receipt carefully and noticed numbers next to the item.  

I guessed it could be ID number for the item throughout Walmart stores and wanted to check it at their website.

Then I visited the home page and I entered the numbers of the item in the search, and then press it.........

Very glad to get Bingo!  The numbers showed the item I bought and now I remember I bought this for teaching Japanese language....


This way to identify the item on the receipt worked at the HomeDepot, too but didn't work at Costco.  Now I need to think about a way to identify the items....  Better directly to Costco?  






Best + Best = ?

I've just changed a front page design for the Buddha Day Service tomorrow. Instead of using photos of the Buddhist council temples, I decided to use some front page designs in the past.  I thought this looked more like "Book fair?"


After looking at programs in the past, I noticed one thing.  

Front page is usually the best description of its contents.  And usually, less explanation and more pictures are used to imply what is this event like?   In other words, all the past designs of the Buddha Day programs could be the best answer toward the question "what is Buddha day?" without using much words!  


So my idea is very simple.  I just collected and used the best answers of what is Buddha Day?  I thought collected best answers should be better than "the best" in the past. 


Just for fun, I've made an Equation...


Best + Best + Best = Better than the best.


Tonight Candle night will be held at Hoffgard Park in Waimea Town, hosted by Waimea Buddhist temples and ministers, after memorial service for the beloved pets and animals from 6:00 pm.






Kauai Buddhist Council Temples

Have you ever visited all the Buddhist temples which host Bon Dance on Kauai?  If so, have you visited their Hondo (Main Altar Hall), too?  Then can you tell which (altar) is which (temple)?


Well, let me post the following photos of all Bon Dance hosting temples on Kauai.  I hope this could be a good opportunity to check if you remember characteristics of the altars.  The answer follows photos.


I wonder....did you notice the order of this listing temples?


The order of listing photos here is actually the order of 2018 Bon Dance on Kauai Schedule!!!


So the first photo here is, 

1. Kapaa Jodo Mission (June 8-9)

The second photo is,

2. West Kauai Hongwanji Mission Hanapepe Temple (June 15-16)

3. Lihue Hongwanji Mission (June 22-23) 

4. Waimea Shingon Mission (June 29-30) 

5. Koloa Jodo Mission (July 6-7)

6. West Kauai Hongwanji Mission Waimea Temple (July 13-14)

7. Kapaa Hongwanji Mission (July 20-21)

8. Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Mission (July 27-28)

9. Kauai Soto Zen Temple  (August 3-4) 


So when you go to the temples next time, please check my information is correct!  It'll be nice to check out the differences of the altars and of course, nice to offer prayer there at the Hondos.


Tonight Candle Night will be at Hanapepe.  Both Kauai Soto Zen and West Kauai Hongwanji Hanapepe Temple will host the open house from 6:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.   







Some time ago, when I was about to leave Koloa to pick up my daughter at Lawai, I mistakenly locked myself out. I definitely knew I shouldn’t have locked the door yet, but it was too late.  Unintentionally, I locked the door with all of my keys inside the house…House Key, keys for the temple, and car key were all inside.  But that was not all.  My smart phone and wallet were also in the house!  I was totally locked out and I couldn’t do anything but shout myself “Oh, NOOOO!(Baka-tare).”   I wonder have you experienced this kind of lockout.



Fortunately, our social hall door was unlocked and I could use a phone.   Soon I realized, however, I’ve relied so much to my smart phone and I didn’t memorize my wife’s phone number.  What can I do?  Of course, if I waited some time, eventually my wife would be back to open the house.  But the problem was I didn’t know how soon or late she would be back.   And I needed to pick up my daughter at 5:00 pm at Lawai Warehouse where she was attending afterschool program.   Time was running quickly but all the contact numbers was in my smart phone in the locked house.   I even tried to sneak in the house by using ladder but I found myself too big for the window to enter.



In the meantime, it was already 5:40pm.  My last choice was to call our temple President Alvin Akimoto for help.   This was actually my first easy choice I thought of…because his phone number was one of four phone numbers I remember.   The numbers I know here are, 1. Kapaa Jodo Mission, Jodo Mission of Hawaii (Betsuin) where I worked for 3 years, 911 and Akimoto residence.   That’s all.  But I had a big hesitation to call him on that day because he was working all day long at the temple for preparing for our New Year’s Party.   But I started to worry my daughter, too, who must be waiting at Lawai alone and all I could do was to ask him to come here to open the house with a spare key.  I was sure he was so tired but as soon as I asked for help, he came to the house and opened house in no time.



As I reflected my 18 years here at Koloa Jodo Mission, this experience of “locked out” was my first time but I actually called our President for help so many times.   That’s why I never forget his phone number and I was so grateful for his time, generosity and talents as a engineer to fix almost anything.   He has indeed fixed my car many times, repaired toilet, shower, kitchen, house and he continues to fix something at the temple with uncle Edwin and Jimmy as our temple buildings get older.  Our membership dues of Koloa Jodo Mission has been $50 for nearly 50 years while other prices have gone up dramatically.   This was definitely possible thanks to our President and our members and friends.   Of course, this means I didn’t get a raise for many years.  But I’m rather thankful and proud of this fact since I’ve received something more precious than money. 



Last but not least, I’d like to thank the lady who kindly waited with my daughter at Lawai for nearly one hour till she is picked up by my wife.   I didn’t have a chance to thank her in person but I am still grateful for her time and true kindness.





You cannot see the wood for trees

I've just made a front page for the upcoming Kauai Buddhist Council 2018 Buddha Day Service Program.  It took only a few minutes to combine all photos of the temples on one page but I had to spend a few days to try to find a picture of Moloaa Stupa from my collections of photos/video hard drives.  There were about total of 27.5TB!!!  No wonder it took days to go through all photos.  I was so preoccupied with a thought I had some pictures of stupa but after all, I realized it would be much easier to go to Moloaa to take photos.   Yes, a roundtrip to Moloaa was just a few hours, not for a few days.


At the last Sunday Service, I talked about a famous saying "You cannot see the wood for the trees."  This experience became another good lesson that we should not stick to the old idea.  It's better to be open to try new idea.


Yes, instead of looking for the past photos I took, I can always take another new photos.  After going to Molaa, I gave up looking for other temples' photos from my hard drives.  I just went to the temples and took some photos.  They were actually better than old photos!





Sweetest Pineapple II

I ate this pineapple ....four weeks after I bought it.  Very sweet!!!
I ate this pineapple ....four weeks after I bought it. Very sweet!!!

"Sweetest Pineapple" article was originally written for the Kapaa Jodo Mission Bulletin last November.  Then I received a comment via internet.  I had no idea who sent me an email because there was no name on it.  But as soon as I read it, at least I knew the person was very knowledgeable both Pineapple and Kauai.  Let me share the following email message I received from that person.  


“I read and enjoyed your message about the pineapple.  Most people will remember Kapaa the pineapple town.  Kapaa and Up canary helped us in a big way.  We earned money to go to school, etc.  The best pineapple to me was always from the third crop.  The first crop was large and ok.  The second crop was smaller and usually sweeter.  The third crop was small and sweetest and used for juice.   However, today it’s different because of low acid pineapple and white pineapple.  Frankie’s Nursery has the best white pineapple.  Since pineapple doesn’t ripen only ferments after it is picked it is best to look at the stem and see if is freshly picked.  Secondly smell the area.   You can smell the sugar or fermentation. Frankie’s pineapple is called meli kalima (honey cream).  The Brix is 28. Maui gold pineapple is about 18 and honey is 32.  Aloha.”

It was so interesting that I naturally asked if I could share this email with our members.  At the same time, I asked the name.  Then he replied to me in no time.   It was Mr. Herbert Nishida whom I knew only name through donations for O-Toba prayer.


“My name is Herbert Nishida and you can share my novice information. Very few people will recognize my name.  I left Kapaa in 1958 but like most people I keep interest in my hometown. Now I’m a visitor. The real experts in selecting the sweetest pineapple are your members who will remain silent until asked a direct question.  Perhaps your sweetest pineapple article will create a new common bond and so on. do you pick out the best papaya. ...again the stem of the mostly green firm fruit must be fresh not old. ...smell the mostly green fruit and you should smell sugar.  If you don’t select another one.  Be sure the is not yellow because it will be smashed by the people’s hands. Unlike pineapple papaya will ripen.  People may laugh when you ask them to smell a papaya that’s green.  That’s okay because their method of selecting may be better.   Aloha”

A big Mahalo to Mr. Nishida who allowed me to share his interesting comments on the pineapple.  Especially, I agreed...the real experts will remain silent until asked a direct question.   This reminded me of the Lao Tsu's famous saying, "Those who know do not speak.   Those who speak do not know."   And now I had an idea to add his saying, "Those who answer know!"   It is my hope that I get more opportunities to hear from our members and friends about your experiences.  





Sweetest Pineapple

This pineapple as an offering to Buddha has been here for almost 4 weeks.   I think it's now ready to eat!!!
This pineapple as an offering to Buddha has been here for almost 4 weeks. I think it's now ready to eat!!!


When I used to work for Sushi bar in the glossary store,  there was a table for pineapples to sell just in front of my workplace.  As a result, I often saw customers choosing a pineapple and actually I was often asked by customers, “How do you choose a sweet pineapple?”   They were mostly tourists.


My answer had been “I’m sorry I don’t know” or sometimes “Who knows?” but because I often received questions, I became so curious about answers and found some possible answers from websites later.


One website says “choose a pineapple that is heavy.”  It also says “choose darker green leaf of pineapple.”   Then another website says “smell the butt of the pineapple!  If it doesn’t smell pineapple juice, it doesn’t contain much sugar.”   Another opinion which I thought interesting was “upside down pineapple for a while before you eat.”


I still don’t know whether they are correct or not, but because of a question I had, I stay curious which pineapple would be sweet.   Then last summer, I happened to find a way to make pineapple sweeter.


That was so simple...just to wait.   I know everybody wait for a ripe pineapple.  But did you wait enough time?  Is it really ready?   How many days do you wait?


Well let me share my experience.  Last summer, I bought a pineapple as a offering at our altar during O-Bon service at Koloa Jodo Mission in the end of July. Then right after O-Bon, I went to Japan and completely forgot this Pineapple.   After I came back here on August 18, I saw pineapple looked so dry and yellow and realized I forgot to tell my family to eat it.   I honestly thought I waisted a pineapple. 

However, it smelled so good that I tried it. 

"Oh my gosh, so sweet!!!"  To my surprise, that was the sweetest pineapple I've ever had.

Before I ate this pineapple, I used to wait only for a few days for the pineapple to ripe.  But after this experience, I wait at least a few weeks to eat Pineapple after I bought it......It's so simple but I realized "Waiting " can be the best answer for the sweetest pineapple.                                                                                    





2018 Hanamatsuri Week & Buddha Day Commemoration on Kauai


In Japan, April 8 has been known as the day when Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, Nepal about 2600 years ago.  Siddhartha was a prince of the kingdom of Kapilavastu (Northern India).  He had all the material wealth that anyone could wish for but when he was 29 years old, he was truly shocked to know people in the world were suffering from illness, poverty, and various dissatisfaction.  He then renounced all these things to go out into the world to seek a way of salvation for all the people.  After six years of hard trainings and deep meditation, he became enlightened under the Bodhi tree when he was 35 years old.  Siddhartha was then called “Buddha” which literally means “Awakened One.”   For the sake of sharing the way to happiness, Buddha traveled to preach his teachings for nearly 45 years.  His teachings were gradually transmitted from people to people, countries to countries and from generations to generations which have formed what we call “Buddhism” today.


The tradition to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday in April 8 has been brought to Hawaii with Japanese Immigrants and April 8 was officially recognized as a Buddha Day by the State Legislature of 1963. Since Buddha’s birthplace was a flower garden in Lumbini and also April in Japan is a beautiful season of Sakura flowers, Buddha’s Birthday is also called “Hanamatsuri” meaning “Flower(Hana) Festival(Matsuri)”   


In celebration of Hanamatsuri this year, Kauai Buddhist Council will offer for a full week of celebrations festivities.  From April 2nd to April 6th, “Candle Night-open house” at temple will be held at the Buddhist temples.  This open house is to offer extra time and place for prayer and meditation with candle lights to anyone, both residents and visitors of Kauai.   There will be time for meditation, prayer, Q & A, and talk-stories with Sensei.   Each temple will welcome you in a different way.


On Sunday, April 8, 2018, Buddha Day Service and Buddhist Book Fair will be observed at Lihue Hongwanji Mission from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.   The guest speaker will be Mr. Mark Daniel Seiler whose first novel, “Sighing Woman Tea” won at the Pacific Rim Book Festival 2015 and his second novel “River’s Child” was recently awarded the Landmark Prize for fiction.”  He is a poet, musician, master carpenter, and currently serving as a board member of Koloa Jodo Mission, Kauai Buddhist Council, and Lawai International Center.


Kauai Buddhist council which consists of Kapaa Jodo Mission, Kapaa Hongwanji Mission, Kauai Dharma Center, Lihue Hongwanji Mission, Koloa Jodo Mission, Kauai Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji, Waimea Shingon Mission, Waimea Higashi Hongwanji Mission and West Kauai Hongwanji Mission (WKHM Hanapepe & Waimea Temple) will proudly display their best selections of the Buddhist books during this Buddhist Book Fair.   At the same time, we will have some books both for sale and for free available to the participants.  Temples will bring and present some free “old new book” which was supposed to be new but never read by members for many years.


There will be refreshments and lucky number follow the service.  All are invited and welcome.  For more information, please call Rev. Kosen Ishikawa at 635-8530.  Hanamasturi week Schedule as follows;


Monday, April 2                6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night          Kapaa Jodo Mission (635-8530)


Tuesday, April 3                 6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Waimea Shingon Mission (338-1854)  Wednesday, April 4          6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Koloa Jodo Mission (742-6735)


Thursday, April 5                6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Kapaa Hongwanji Mission (822-4667)


Friday, April 6                     6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           Kauai Soto Zen Temple (335-3521)


Friday, April 6                     6:00 pm-8:00 pm  

Candle Night           WKHM Hanapepe Temple (335-3195)               


  (*Hanapepe Art Night is held on Fridays.  So it’s nice to visit both temples on the same day.)



Sunday, April 8   9:30 am -12:00 noon  Buddha Day Service & Buddhist Book Fair at Lihue Hongwanji Mission.






Our Neighbor Island Oahu

Our neighbor island, Oahu was visible clearly yesterday and today from the top of Lawai cemetery.  I've lived here at Koloa for 18 years but this was my 2nd and 3rd time to see Oahu from Kauai. 


The first time I saw Oahu from Koloa road was way back in 2011 and I was so moved that I took and sent my photograph to the Garden Island Paper.  Since then, whenever I looked at the ocean, I always tried to find an Oahu.  So I was very glad to see Oahu again with my naked eyes after such a long time.


By the way, did you know how far from Oahu to Kauai?  20 minutes flight away?  Yes, it's true.  But how many miles away from Oahu to Kauai?   I was very curious and found an interesting website called
"Distance Calculator" which tells distance between two places.  If that is correct, the distance between Oahu and Kauai in a straight line is 95 miles or 152.86 km.   Interestingly, it explained more....such as a possible gasoline cost from Oahu to Kauai.


Let me quote...


"Gas cost estimates for this Oahu to Kauai trip If you were travelling in a vehicle that averaged 35 MPG and were paying $3.09 per gallon for your gas then the cost for a trip based upon an "estimated distance" of 114 drive miles from Oahu to Kauai * in gas would be in the region of $10.06 USD.


If you were driving a bigger vehicle that averaged 20 miles per gallon and were paying 3.09 per gallon for your gas then the cost for a road trip from Oahu to Kauai in gas would be around $17.61 USD.


If you were travelling in a super efficient car that averaged 60 miles per gallon and were paying 3.09 per gallon for your gas then the cost for this based on this estimate from Oahu to Kauai in gas would be around $5.87 USD.


If you averaged 50 mph, it would take around 2.32 hours to do the journey . Do bear in mind that this is based on an average speed!
(Info source:Distance from Oahu, Hawaii to Kauai, Hawaii USA in Miles or Kilometers )


Anyway, that's the distance between Oahu and Kauai. 

They say "Things come in three's!"   So tomorrow might be another chance to see Oahu from here!  






2018 Kauai Bon Dance Schedule


Happy New Year!  The following 2018 Bon Dance Schedule on Kauai was approved at the Kauai Buddhist Council General Meeting yesterday.  2018 Bon Dance will be kicked off at Kapaa Jodo Mission on Friday June 8!  



2018 Kauai Buddhist Council

Bon Dance Schedule


June 8 - 9    Kapaa Jodo Mission  


June 15-16  West Kauai Hongwanji – Hanapepe


June 22-23  Lihue Hongwanji


June 29-30  Waimea Shingon


July 6-7       Koloa Jodo 


July 13-14   West Kauai Hongwanji Waimea


July 20-21   Kapaa Hongwanji


July 27-28  Waimea Higashi Hongwanji


Aug. 3-4     Kauai Soto Zen Temple




Also at the meeting, Bon Dance Committee proposed 18 songs for 2018 Bon Dance on Kauai.  They were almost same as last year's songs but there were two changes.   Furustato Ondo was replaced with Dai Tokyo Ondo and order of Beautiful Sunday moved to the 2nd from 8th.



1.      Tanko Bushi                           3:16    


2.      Beautiful Sunday                  4:13 (8th to 2nd)


3.      Nippon Daiko                         4:10


4.      Zunpa Ondo                            3:49


5.      Hana no Bon Odori                 4:00


6.      Shiawase Samba                      3:24


7.      Bamba Odori                           4:00


8.      Kokoro Taihei                         3:58


9.      Dai Tokyo Ondo                    3:13  (New)


10.  Asatoya Yunta                         3:27


11.  Fukushima Bon Uta                 3:38


12.  Ashibina                                   3:06


13.  Sakura Ondo                             3:16


14.  Nippon Zenkoku Ohayashi Ondo      3:26    


15.  Gokigen Song                           3:55


16.  Heisei Ondo                              3:47


17.  Kawaichi Otoko Bushi              4:20


18.  Hana no Tebyoshi Odori           3:45



     "Dai Tokyo Ondo" is a new song this year however it used to be one of the popular Bon Dance Songs on Kauai till 1999. 


     If you are interested in dancing Bon Dance, you will be very welcome at the Bon Dance Practices at the following temples.   It will be good exercise with fun.  And it's free too.   If you have any question, please feel free to contact me, Kosen Ishikawa,  who happen to be President of Kauai Buddhist Council this year.


Kapaa Hongwanji       Mondays @7:00 p.m. from March 

Lihue Hongwanji        Fridays @ 7:30 p.m. from May

Koloa Jodo                  Tuesdays @6:30 p.m. from May

WKH Hanapepe         Thursdays @6:00 p.m.  Beginners’ Class from February 15th








2018 Schedule


Koloa Jodo Mission & Kapaa Jodo Mission


2018 Schedule

*Please notice Sunday Service is sometimes held at Kapaa Jodo Mission.




Sunday, January 7                   10:30 a.m.       New Year Service at Koloa


Sunday, January 14                 10:00 a.m.       Gyoki Service at Kapaa


Sunday, January 21                 10:30 a.m.       Gyoki Service at Koloa


                                                    1:00 p.m.         Bon Dance Committee


Monday, January 22               7:00 p.m.         Kauai Buddhist Council 


Sunday, January 28                 10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class


Sunday, February 4                 10:30 a.m.       Nehan-ye Service at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, February 11               Special Service & Gagaku Concert at Betsuin


                                                            (No Service at both Koloa and Kapaa)


Saturday, February 17            New Year’s Party at Koloa


Sunday, February 25               10:00 a.m.       Nehan-ye Service at Kapaa


Sunday, March 4                     10:30 a.m.       Higan Service at Koloa


Sunday, March 11                   10:00 a.m.       Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo


Sunday, March 18                    1:00 p.m.        Bon Dance Committee Mtg.


Sunday, March 25                   10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, April 1                        10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, April 8                        9:30 a.m.         Kauai Buddhist Council Hanamatsuri Buddha Day


Sunday, April 15                      10:00 a.m.       Buddha Day Service at Kapaa


Sunday, April 22                      10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, April 29                      10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, May 6                        10:30 a.m.       Mother’s Day Service at Koloa


Sunday, May 13                      10:00 a.m.       Mother’s Day Service at Kapaa


Sunday, May 20                      10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, May 27                      10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo


Sunday, June 3                        10:00 a.m.       Bon Service at Kapaa


Friday, June 8                                                     Bon Dance at Kapaa


Saturday, June 9                                                Bon Dance at Kapaa


Sunday, June 10                                                 Clean-up after Bon Dance


Sunday, June 17                      10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, June 24                      7:30 p.m.         Kapaa Toro Nagashi at Wailua River State Park


Sunday, July 1                          10:30 a.m.       Bon Service at Koloa Jodo


Friday, July 6                                                      Bon Dance at Koloa


Saturday, July 7                                                 Bon Dance at Koloa


Sunday, August 5                           Koloa Toro Nagashi at  Kukuiula Boat Harbor


Sunday, August 26                   10:00 a.m.       Jizo Bon Service at Kapaa


Sunday, September 2              10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, September 9              10:00 a.m.       Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo


September 14-16                                               Laypersons’ Convention


Sunday, September 23            10:30 a.m.       Higan Service at Koloa


Sunday, September 30            10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, October 7                                              Picnic


Sunday, October 14                10:30 a.m.        Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, October 21                10:30 a.m.        Sunday Service at Koloa


Sunday, October 28                10:30 a.m.        Calligraphy Class at Koloa



Sunday, November 4               10:30 a.m.       Ojuya Service at Koloa

No Service on November 4.  


Sunday, November 11             10:00 a.m.       Ojuya Service at Kapaa


Sunday, November 18             10:30 a.m.       Sunday Service at Koloa

(Ojuya Service)


Sunday, November 25             10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class at Koloa


Sunday, December 2                9:30 a.m.          Kauai Buddhist Council Bodhi Day Service


Saturday, December 8                                      General Clean Up at Kapaa


Sunday, December 9               10:00 a.m.       Kapaa Bodhi Day Service


Sunday, December 16             10:30 a.m.       Calligraphy Class


Sunday, December 31             5:30 p.m.         New Year’s Eve Service at Koloa


                                                   11:00 p.m.       New Year’s Eve Service at Kapaa








Love Lock

It's been a long time since I saw lovelocks at Waimea Canyon lookout last May.  I know "Love is sometimes blind" but I cannot understand people who attached lovelocks in front of breathtaking views.


Leaving lovelock in front of great nature is something like throwing away rubbish in a super clean place.  We normally cannot do this.  But the truth is there are always people who do this. So I'm sure those who did install lovelocks at the lookout were not normal.  They were blinded by love.


As you know, lovelock is a symbol of "unbreakable love" by throwing away its key.  But this time it was broken and removed soon by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.  


I'm afraid this "cat and mouse game" might continue but we all need to realize the principle of the sightseeing site. "Don't take and leave anything."   You can only take photos and leave footprints by your shoes.  Maybe for Kauai, visitors are also welcome to leave money, too.






Harmony of the Universe (2)

What a delicious chocolate!  I went to Seven-Eleven to buy water and I happened to realize they sell some Japanese products.  One of them was this Crisp and Moist Chocolate.  I didn't intend to buy any snack but I couldn't resist buying it after seeing this product.  Just like this explanation, chocolate was so mild, crisp and moist and I felt harmony of the universe in my mouth.  So good! 


As you know, persons who have opposite characters are hard to get along.  However, if they can understand very well each other, they can be best friends.  In like manner, two opposite elements in one product are not good combinations.  But if opposites can be mixed very well, there is harmony in the combination.  I felt harmony of the universe from the combination of crisp and moist.  


...Sorry if I am exaggerating, but this is very good.






What is Buddhism?


What is Buddhism?  Dharma Talk by Rev. William Masuda during KBC Bodhi Day service last month was so interesting.  Although I forgot many parts of the talk but this simple question of "what is Buddhism in short or by using a few words" still lingers on me.  And I still remember most answers from the floor. 


I thought this question was excellent because


1. Simple and short, 2. Many answers, 3. No wrong answers


In addition, no matter how you may know Buddhism, knowledge doesn't help much to answer this question.  Rather knowledge can be an obstacle to answer since you have to choose one out of many possible answers.  Anyway, I enjoyed listening to the answers from members of the different temples..  They were "Compassion", "Impermanence and Permanence", "Non-attachment" and "Living in the present moment."  Yes, they were all correct and I was thinking my answer as "middle path" or later "Teaching of Buddha to become a Buddha."  The more I think, the more better answers I get.



Interestingly, Rev. Masuda introduced traditional passage of Buddhism as one of the answers for "What is Buddhism."  Buddhism is, "1. Refrain from Various Evils, 2. Cultivate the Various Good, 3. Purify the mind, 4. That's the teaching of Buddhas (Dharmapada)."



There is a famous episode about this phrase.  A Chinese famous poet, Bai Juyi(772-846), asked his Zen Master "What is Buddhism in essence"  Then his master replied by quoting this passage above "Refrain from Various Evils..."  However, Bai Juyi was disappointed to hear it and complained "Is that so simple?  3yrs old child could know this answer."   Then his master told Bai Juyi "3 years old child may know it yet nobody can do it even though they become 80 years old."



Our Master Honen (1133-1212), on the other hand, also thought about the same question of "What is Buddhism."  Then he pointed out the word "San-gaku (lit. three studies)"as the very essence of Buddhism,  which can be translated into "Three-fold Discipline" in English.  Master Honen said,



"Buddhist doctrine has many facets; however, its basis ultimately lies the Three-fold Discipline; that is, the precepts, meditation, and wisdom.  The three-fold Discipline are embodied in Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, in the tenets of exoteric and esoteric Buddhist doctrines." ( Teachings of Honen, page 5)



I thought "Precepts, Meditation, and Wisdom" could be the best answer for What is Buddhism because these three words indicates both our goal and the way to reach goal.  I haven't realized importance of wisdom until I recalled this phrase.  Yes, wisdom is the most important teaching, goal, and light.   Then I got to realize most of the answers for "what is Buddhism" are just different descriptions or expressions of "wisdom."


Needless to say, “Wisdom" is the very core concept in Buddhism and therefore we can call "non-attachment, middle path, living in the present moment, eight-fold path" as a part of wisdom.  Then how can we get wisdom? 



Excellently, three words "Precepts, meditation, and Wisdom" indicate a step-by step teaching.  First, we need to follow various rules and disciplines called "basic."  We can say any lesson such as any sports, any languages, any arts  start with the simple basics which have many "Do not things."  By following the basics or precepts, we can always improve ourselves to grow.  Then as a next step, we need meditation which is like concentration.  Where there are both basic and meditation, there is always improvement.  



However, master Honen also realized there were countless people including himself having hard times to follow simple precepts and cannot observe meditation.   According to the Buddhist tradition," One will not enter the state of samadhi(tranquility full of insight) unless one becomes pure of body and mind through the observation of the precepts." 


If wisdom is achieved only by precepts and meditation, what will happen to people who cannot do these.  Is there any way we can be saved?  Is there any Buddhist teachings other than "Three fold discipline"?  Master Honen made questions that eventually led him to renounce traditional Buddhism and established Jodoshu in 1175. 


Once again, I thought the question “what is Buddhism?” was such a wonderful “right” question.  If we can make “right question”, it’s always possible to find an answer.  On the other hand, if we make a wrong question, the answer might be wrong, too.  In this complicated world, it’s kind of hard to find a right way and right answer.  However, just like Honen Shonin found a right question, if you can make a right question, you will find a right way out of the problems. 






Saving is Investing


Last month, price of forever stamp was raised to 49 cents from 47 cents.  I wonder did you buy stamps before this raise in price?  I did buy some stamps for Koloa Jodo Mission  but now I regret I didn't buy more. 


As you know, the value of forever stamp will never change even though its price may go up when you buy it in the future. 

This means we can definitely save money when forever stamp is cheaper.  Of course, amount of saving money is depend on how many stamps you use in the future.  So you might think this raise of 2 cents is very small and it won't affect much when you buy only a small amount.   However, the more you need to use forever stamp, just "2 cents" raise can become bigger and bigger. 

For example,


Number of Forever stamp

47 cents/Stamp

(Before raise)


49 cents/Stamp

(After raise)






20 cents




















Of course, number of over 10000 stamps seem to be so huge and may not be realistic to buy these numbers of stamp at one time.   But if you are using "forever stamp" regularly, these numbers will come eventually.  So if you need to use about 200 stamps every month, consumption of stamps will be2400 stamps annually. 





Usage of forever stamp

(200 /a month)

1 year


2 years


3 years


4 years


5 years





So if I was able to buy 12000 stamps before this raise, I could have save at least $240 for the stamp usage in 5 years.  That's actually lots of saving as compared to the bank's interest.  Currently interest rate for bank CD is almost nothing.   Even though you deposit money for longer period like 5 years, it won't make much money.  


We tend to think saving and earning are two different things and we like more earning than saving.  However if we can be mindful of the meaning of saving, saving and earning can be a same thing as a whole. 

So  buying cheaper forever stamps should be much better investment if you use stamps regularly.  The rate of this raise of 2 cents for 47 cents is actually 4.2%!!!   This means if you were able to buy cheaper forever stamp, you could save 4.2% of the price...which should be same as earning 4.2% interest.


Yes, saving is investing.  I wrote this for the next time.






History repeats itself?

War, peace, war, peace, war, peace, war, peace, war, war, peace, war, peace.....This is our history of human being if I can put it bluntly.  Of course, reality is never so simple but we human being repeated war and peace countless times in the past and they are still happening in this moment..  


Nobody like war and everybody love peace.  However peace can be broken so easily by war. Then war make us seek for peace.  Just like swinging pendulum, war and peace are happening and going back and forth repeatedly.


Another interesting expression for our human history can be "repetition of unity and division."  We all want to be united and love sense of unity.  Then once it is unified, however, we lose our sense of special and we seek for the smaller groups.  Then if we get more of smaller groups, we lose sense of strength and feel more inconvenient because of the smaller group.  As a result, we seek for the bigger group which could do a bigger job.  Both unity of smaller groups and division of a bigger group are happening not only in our history but also happening in our everyday life.  We can see this in the context of the opposite relationship between  "Stimulation and stability" or "special and general."

Anyway, war and peace, unity and division have been a very essence and backbone of the history which repeated itself.  But now with modern technology and power of the extremely strong weapons,  history may not repeat itself in the future because such a powerful weapons could extinct us so easily.  That's why to choose a right leader will be more and more important in the future.  






Meaning of Great

Mr. T says "Make America Great Again."  But I think America is already Great.  America gave me rights to live and work legally, freedom of speech, and religious liberty.  I'm very thankful to America for my sources of happiness and therefore I believe America is great.

On the other hand, what made Mr. T think that America is not great now.  Why?  I thought about the reason and finally found it out.  The reason was quite simple. 


My definition of "great" and his definition of "great" are totally different.  For Mr. T, "great" is understood as getting "more money" "more jobs" and "more factories in the US."   "Great" is used as a simple meaning of "rich."  I agree many people need to be employed and be richer.  In this sense, Mr. T is not wrong.

However....if much more factories come to America and hire more people to work, what will happen?   Is this the way for the country to be richer?  I am not sure the answer.


But at least I know one thing.  Prices of products are all going up because companies need to use more money to use workers.  Then if they spend more money, eventually they need to lay off people. 


Building walls at border is same thing.  If America is charging more tax for the foreign products, it's not foreign companies to pay tax but American companies need to pay more tax. And eventually it comes us customers who pay more to the products.

"Make America Great Again" sounds great and inspiring.  But to be rich is actually never easy.   And we need to have a different goal or direction if existing way doesn't work good.


Our goal is better to make our mother Earth great, not one country to be great. Through the many wars in the human history, we all know Fascio (nationalism) is out of fashion and globalism is the one we should grow. 


Needless to say, no countries can exist without our mother Earth.  Also we cannot live without our planet.  However, vice versa is not true.   Without country, Earth can live.  Without America, people can exist and we can live without Japan.


Once again, I think America is already "great" according to my definition and our next step is not to make America great but to make our Earth great!







2017 Quiz

Aloha!  Long time no see. 

For a long time, I forgot about this blog but I'm thinking to restart it because I have now desire to write more.  My condition has been like storing water.  Because I have just kept collecting water, now I need a way to release the water here. 

I am hoping I can provide more of interesting, useful and sometimes funny stories to you.  And above all, my wish is "Let all living beings be always happy and kind. "


Anyway I have a quiz.  It's very simple but very difficult.  The question is "How many cats can you see?"  Please guess the answer.


A. 0

B. 1

C. 2

D. many

E. So what?


The answer is.

























































































































































C. 2 cats!


Thank you for visiting our website and have a great day!






2017 Bon Dance Schedule

Kauai Buddhist Council

2017 Bon Dance Schedule


June 2-3           WKHM-Hanapepe 

June 9-10         Lihue Hongwanji 

June 16-17       Waimea Shingon 

June 23-24       Kapaa Jodo Mission 

June 30-July 1  No Bon Dance

July 7-8             WKHM-Waimea 

July 14-15         Kapaa Hongwanji 

July 21-22         Waimea Higashi Hongwanji 

July 28-29         Kauai Soto Zenshuji 

Aug 4-5              Koloa Jodo Mission


Aloha and Happy New Year!

2017 Kauai Bon Dance Schedule was approved at Kauai Buddhist Council Meeting last week.  There will be 18 songs this year including a new song called "Nippon Zenkoku Ohayashi Ondo."  Bon Dance Practice schedule was not set yet, but I let you know as soon as I get it.  Anyway, please mark Bon Dance schedule on your calendar and hope to see you soon.







2017 Schedule


2017 Schedule / Koloa Jodo Mission & Kapaa Jodo Mission






Sunday, January 1                   10:30 a.m.                              

New Year's Day Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission



Monday, January 2                 10:30 a.m.  

New Year's Day Service at Koloa Jodo Mission



Saturday, January 7                5:30 p.m.                                

Nippon Welcome Dinner at KCC  (Tickets $20/person + $20/cadet)



Sunday, January 8                   10:30 a.m.    

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo



Sunday, January 15                 10:00a.m.                               

Gyoki Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission

  (Memorial Service for St. Honen)



Sunday, January 22                 10:30 a.m.  

Gyoki Service at Koloa Jodo Mission


 1:00 p.m.            Bon Dance Meeting at WKH Hanapepe


Monday, January 23                6:00 p.m.                                

KBC Meeting at Zenshuji



Saturday, January 28               6:00 p.m.                               

New Year's Party at Kapaa Jodo


*Members of Koloa Jodo Mission has been invited.  Please let me know if you can participate.



Sunday, January 29                 10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Calss at Koloa Jodo






Sunday, February 5                 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo Mission



Saturday, February 11             5:30 p.m. 

General Membership Meeting

6:00 p.m.                                 New Year's Party at Koloa Jodo Mission



Sunday, February 19               10:00 a.m.                              

Nirvana Day Service at Kapaa Jodo



Sunday, February 26               10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo






Sunday, March 5                     10:30 a.m. 

Higan Service at Koloa Jodo



Sunday, March 12                   10:00 a.m. 

Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo

March19             No Service



Sunday, March 26                   10:30 a.m.

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo






Sunday, April 2                         9:30 a.m.                                

KBC Buddha Day Service at West Kauai Hongwanji Hanapepe Temple



Sunday, April 9                        10:00 a.m.                              

Buddha Day Service at Kapaa Jodo



Sunday, April 16                      10:30 a.m. 

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo



Sunday, April 23                      10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo






Boy's Day Mochi Sale at Kapaa Jodo

will be announced later.



Sunday, May 14                      10:30 a.m. 

Mother's Day Service at Koloa Jodo



Sunday, May 28                      10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo





Sunday, June 4                        10:30 a.m. 

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo


Friday, June 23-24                                                                  

Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission


Sunday, June 18                      10:00 a.m.                              

Bon Service / Osegaki at Kapaa


Sunday, June 25                      8:00 a.m.                               

Clean-Up at Kapaa Jodo





Sunday, July 1                          7:30 p.m.                                

Kapaa Toro Nagashi at Wailua River



Sunday, July 30                        10:30 a.m.   

Bon Service/Osegaki at Koloa Jodo





Fr. & Sat. August  4 & 5    Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo Mission



Sunday, August 6                      7:30 p.m. 

Toro Nagashi (Tentative) at Kukuiula



Sunday, August 20                   10:00 a.m. 

Jizo Bon Service at Kapaa Jodo



Sunday, August 27                   10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo





Sunday, September 3              10:30 a.m. 

Higan Service at Koloa Jodo Mission



Sunday, September 10            10:00 a.m. 

Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission



Sunday, September 24            10:30 a.m.

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo Mission



Monday, September 25          6:00 p.m. 

KBC Meeting at Zenshuji





Sunday, October 1                  10:30 a.m.  

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo



Sunday, October 29                10:30 a.m.  

Calligraphy Class at Koloa





Sunday, November 5               10:30 a.m. 

Ojuya Service at Koloa



Sunday, November  12            10:00 a.m. 

Ojuya Service at Kapaa



Sunday, November 19             10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo





Sunday, December 3               9:30 a.m.

KBC Bodhi Day Service(Tentative)



Sunday, December 10             

10:30 a.m. 


Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

No Service at Koloa

Bodhi Day Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission @10:00 a.m.



Sunday, December 17

10:30 a.m.

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo



Sunday, December 31             5:30 p.m.

New Year's Eve Service at Koloa Jodo

11:00 p.m.     New Year's Eve Service at Kapaa Jodo







Awake After Sleeping


Last month I participated in the 24 hours Ceaseless Nenbutsu relay which I broadcasted through my youtube channel.  My assignment was only one hour but soon after I started chanting, I felt like sleeping. 




Since then my practice of Nenbutsu changed to a battle with strong drowsiness.  At first, I had a pressure that some friends in the world are watching me via internet.  So I tried to stay up to chant "Namu Amida Bu" loudly.  Gradually, however, I felt my hitting Mokugyo(wooden drum) became slower.  Then finally I couldn't resist my sleepiness during chanting Nenbutsu.  I'm not so sure how long I was sleeping but at least I realized I fell asleep!




Immediately I thought "Oh my goodness, I slept!!!"  But it was too late.  I became so ashamed of myself and I woke up.  Interestingly, however, after falling asleep during Nenbutsu, I felt so refreshed and completely woke up.   "What a glorious moment!"  This was the moment I first realized the significance of "sleep" in order to wake up.   At the same time, I regained my energy to continue to do Nenbutsu loudly.  This was the most pleasant Nenbutsu I've ever experienced.  One hour went so quickly and I continued more Nenbutsu.




Once again, nobody can wake up without having some sleep.  Because we sleep, we can wake up.  Buddhism is a religion of "awakening."  I realized sleeping or some negative factors of life were also important.   













記録するにあたって、まずは、道路沿い、無数にある撮影箇所を絞り車が安全に、そしてらくらく駐車できるスペース周辺にしました。次に、それぞれの景観、または展望台に名前がありませんので、それぞれの展望スペースをふもとからかぞえてLookout 1, Lookout 2, Lookout 3、、、、と番号をつけました。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) : -

Lookout 1: ワイメア・キャニオン・ドライブを登りはじめて最初の展望スペース。大きなヘアピンカーブを登り切った場所にある。ワイメアの街をはじめ、ケカハ、ニイハウ島を望む展望台。ここからの夕陽も◎。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) : ☆☆

Lookout 2: 直線の急こう配を登って、最初に目にする駐車(車2台ほどとめることができる)スペース。ワイメア川の景観がメイン。流域の緑豊かな景色はいいが、渓谷はあまり見られない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) : ☆

Lookout 3: 舗装されていないやや広めのスペース。渓谷側の景色はハオレ・コアの枯れ木が邪魔でX。海側は見晴らしがよい。しかし、街の景色が見えないのでx。


海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆

Lookout4: 道沿いからすぐに渓谷を見下すことのできる好位置にある。ニイハウ、レフア島を見ることができるが、ここでも街の景色はほとんど見えない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 5: キャニオン・ドライブで最高のオーシャンビュー。解放感も味わえ、しかも渓谷の景色もいい。海も渓谷もどちらも1回だけでみるならここがおすすめ!


海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆

Lookout 6: ガードレール越にお手軽に見られる景色だが、ハオレコアが若干多い。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆☆

Lookout 7: ハオレコアが少なく渓谷の景観が際立つ場所。S字に蛇行するワイメア川など魅力ある写真が撮られる。しかし、海側の景観がよくない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆☆

Lookout 8: 前の展望とほぼ同じだが、こちらのほうが若干歩くことになる(より赤土が靴につきやすい)。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :ー

Lookout 9: 海側に車をとめるので、渓谷は見られない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 10: キャニオンドライブでもっとも駐車スペースが広く、最も多くの人が立ち寄る展柵のない展望スペース。最近、海側の草が刈られたので、オーシャンビューも悪くない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 11: 赤土を流れる滝。土、空、水の際立った色など写真の撮影価値の高い場所。ただし、赤土で靴も車もよごれる。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 12: 穴場的な景観。道路の両脇に舗装のされていない車2台が駐車できる程度のスペースあり、ここに車をとめる。草木のはえない赤土越えに海がみえる。また、キャニオン・ドライブの尾根道を一望することができる。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆







2017 Bon Dance Schedule (Tentative) on Kauai

This evening I enjoyed holoholo at Waimea Shore and then participated in the Kauai Buddhist Council Meeting at Waimea Higashi Hongwanji.  As I realize I am getting older, I am aware of my life time is getting to be shorter. 


Then how can I make the most use of my time from now on?  Is it possible to save time?  


One of my answers is "kill two birds with one stone."  Just like I did both photography and meeting in Waimea this evening, I thought it would be important to do more jobs by spending less time and energy.   


So sharing 2017 Bon Dance schedule here can be another good example for "Killing two birds with one stone."   With only one time post, many people can possibly benefit from the schedule below.


2017 Kauai Buddhist Council

Bon Dance Schedule (Tentative)

June 2 & 3            WKH Hanapepe
June 9 & 10          Lihue Hongwanji
June 16 & 17        Waimea Shingon
June 23 & 24        Kapaa Jodo...
June 30 & July 1   No Bon Dance
July 7 & 8            WKH Waimea Temple
July 14 & 15         Kapaa Hongwwanji
July 21 & 22         Waimea Higashi
July 28 & 29         Kauai Soto Zen

August 4 & 5      Koloa Jodo


*This is a tentative schedule but there should be no change... as long as your temple doesn't request any change.  This means......2017 Koloa Jodo Mission Bon Dance is definitely set as August 4 & 5, 2017.   To our Members and friends of Koloa Jodo Mission, please mark these two dates on your 2017 calendar.  I thank you very much for your continued support!







Wild chickens here on Kauai are getting stronger and stronger. Yesterday, I saw a big fat cat ran away from chickens.   The word "chicken" is supposed to mean "coward."  But they are not "chicken" anymore.  For me, a cat seemed to be "chicken" or "a loser. "


In Japanese, a loser is called "Make(mah keh)-inu" which literally means "defeated dog" or "beaten dog."  This is very similar to the English word "underdog" but "Make(mah keh)-inu" usually indicate the loser who makes excuse for any defeat or failure or mistakes.  


 I think the reason why a "dog " is chosen to mean "a loser" is maybe because dogs bark even when they feel scared.  It is not comfortable to hear the baking from the dog.  In like manner, we don't like hearing excuses or complaints from losers.  So the word "Make-inu" means more than a loser.  It never intend to blame you just because you couldn't win.   Rather "Make-inu" intends to blame you because you don't admit your mistakes or defeat.


Interestingly enough, there is a word "Make (mah-ke)" in Hawaiian language, too. "Make(mah-ke)" means "dead" or "to die" while Japanese "Make(mah-ke) means "defeated" which could also mean to die.  I'm not sure if this is just happening or not.  But since both Japanese and Hawaiian languages have so many similar words and their meanings,  I am guessing some words are originally Japanese which were used by Japanese immigrants more than 100 years ago.   Because one century is very long enough for human forget, people mixed up to understand some Japanese words as Hawaiian words.






International Day of Peace








アレココ(Alekoko Fishpond)は、カウアイ島伝説の小人族メネフネが、一夜にして作ったといわれる養魚池で、通称メネフネ・フィッシュ・ポンドとして知られています。















・王族の為に養っていた魚は、ハワイ語でAma'amaと呼ばれるボラ(英名Striped Mullet)、Awaと呼ばれるサバヒー (英名Milk Fish)、近年では、サモアン蟹が生息していると言われています。







Kota Shrine (居多神社)

This is a very impressive calligraphy which says "Namu(Namo) Amida Butsu" on the drawing of red sun. 


It is well-known as "Hinomaru no Omyogo(日の丸の御名号)" meaning "The Holy Name in the flag of rising sun" which was believed to be written by Shinran Shonin( 1173-1263) when he was exiled to Kota-ga-hama, Echigo (Niigata) as a result of Nenbutsu-ban in 1207. 

According to the local legend, right after Shinran Shonin visited the Shrine to offer prayer to Ōkuninushi(Main enshrined God of this Shinto Shrine), setting sun incredibly shined ocean and 6 characters of Hony Name (Na, Mu(o), A, Mi, Da, Butsu) came out on the surface of ocean.  This impressive sight made Shinran to take a calligraphy-brush and wrote Holy Name on the red sun.

Then a legend continues that Shinran made a short poem as follows,

"Oh, thou, the God of Kota Shrine, please protect Dharma for good and long as Amida and human exist."

Surprising, on the next morning, all the reeds on the ground of Kota-shrine lost all leaves of one-side, which became known as "Kata-ha no Ashi" meaning "One-sided leaves' Reed(Ashi)."  This is now designated as one of the 7 mysteries of Joetsu.

"Kataha no Ashi" Reeds have leaves coming out of the stalks one side, not both sides
"Kataha no Ashi" Reeds have leaves coming out of the stalks one side, not both sides
Entrance of Kota Jinjya
Entrance of Kota Jinjya

Kota-Shrine or Kota Jinjya is located in my hometown, 6 Chome-1-11 Gochi, Jōetsu-shi, Niigata-ken 942-0081, Japan.   10 minutes drive or 25 minutes walk from Naoetsu station.  For the collection of shrine seal, it is recommended to call the shrine (025-543-4354) in advance.  


There were some Omamori(amulets) and books for Sale but nobody was watching/attending.  It just says "To those purchasing goods, please put money in the offering box."  What a trust! But this is very common to many shrines and temples. 


The Kota shrine is known as a god of good marriage and blessed with having children.  This Shrine is also very famous for the Calligraphy of the Holy Name written by Shinran Shonin. 

Therefore it is rare but a shrine has a statue of Shonin Shonin!  Also a historical site where Shinran Shonin landed and lived,  is very close to this shrine. 






Fruit Protection Bag


What a beautiful Mango! I thought Mango season was already ended on Kauai this year but this was a first crop at Rebecca and Mo's garden.  I felt honored and grateful to receive this Mango as a gift.  Also I was very happy to know their experiment to use "Kajitsu-burkuro" for Mango was successful.


Kajitsu-bukuro(果実袋) is a Japanese word, which literally means a "fruit bag."  It is an individual paper & plastic bag to protect fruit or vegetable from bugs, pests, and sunshine.   Since most farmers in Japan use this bag, fruits sold in Japan are very beautiful!  In addition, they are very delicious. 


I knew and saw fruit bags in Japan but I didn't realize the importance of the bags until uncle Mo told me he was looking for this.  So when I went to Japan in March, I bought and brought some bags to Kauai.

This is the picture Rebecca sent me some time ago.  This bag has a plastic window so that you can see if it's ready to pick. 

Again, beautiful and tasty Mango! I guess I should get some more bags when I have another chance to go to Japan!


By the way, there are so many types of Mangos are now listed in the Wikipedia;


Image Origin/
Alampur Baneshan Mango AlampurBaneshan Asit fs.jpg India, United States
Alice Mango Alice Asit fs.jpg United States  
Almaas   Pakistan  
Alphonso Alphonso mango.jpg India, Pakistan, Ecuador, Egypt, Sudan, United States, Nepal "King of Mangoes", very sweet with fibreless pulp, rich in vitamin A and C, founded mainly in Devgad & Ratnagiri Districts of Maharashtra, India. This cultivar is available in Feb till end of May.    
Amrapali   India  
Anderson Mango Anderson Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Angie Angie mango.jpg United States  
Anwar Ratol   India, UP, Multan, Punjab (Pakistan) Small in size and flesh without fibre . Peak season is mid July to August.
Ataulfo Ataulfo mango.jpg Ecuador, Mexico  
Bailey's Marvel Mango BaileysMarvel Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Banganapalli Banganapalli 12x9.jpg India The largest volume mango cultivar in the world, this medium-large fruit ripens to a golden-yellow exterior and a straw-yellow to golden-yellow interior. Very juicy, slightly tangy with little or no fibre and a creamy texture. It originates from the erstwhile princely state of Banganapalle, in present-day Andhra Pradesh, India.    
Bennet Alphonso Mango BennetAlphonso Asit fs.jpg United States  
Beverly Beverly mango.JPG United States  
Black and Rose]]   India Kerala Black and Rose [4]
Bombay Mango Bombay Asit ftg.jpg India, Nepal, United States  
Brahm Kai Meu Mango BrahmKaiMeu Asit fs.jpg United States  
Brooks Mango Brooks Asit fs8.jpg Australia, United States  
Carabao (Philippine Mango) Mango Carabao Asit ftg.jpg Philippines The Ataulfo (mango) and Manilita mango cultivars originated from the Philippine Mango variety. It can be traced back in the Manila-Mexico galleon trade in the years 1600-1800's.[5]    
Carrie Mango Carrie Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Chaunsa Chaunsa.JPG India, Sindh, Pakistan      
Chok anan   Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Thailand  
Cogshall Mango02 CS HD CS Asit.jpg United States  
Cushman Mango Cushman Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Dasheri   India, Nepal, Pakistan, It originated in Village Dasehri, Block Kakori, Lucknow (UP) India. The Mother Tree of Dasehri Mango is still alive and bearing fruits. It is estimated to be 200–300 years old. There are various stories about its origin but the owners say it is a "chance" seedling.    
Dot Mango Dot Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Dudhiya Malda   India, Nepal Grown in Digha, Patna, Bihar. Known for awesome taste and flavour with thin skin[6][7][8][9]    
Duncan Mango Duncan Asit fs8.jpg United States      
Earlygold Earlygold mango.JPG United States  
Edward Mango Edward Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Eldon Mango Eldon Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Emerald   United States  
Fazli (mango)   Bangladesh, India
Fajri Kalan   Pakistan
Fairchild   United States  
Fascell Mango Fascell2 Asit fs.jpg United States  
Florigon Mango Florigon Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Ford Mango Ford Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Gary Gary mango.JPG United States  
Gir Kesar   Gujarat (India)  
Glenn Mango Glenn Asit fs8.jpg Italy, United States  
Gold Nugget Mango ATAULFO GOLD NUGGET Asit.jpg United States  
Golden Lippens   United States  
Graham Mango Graham Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Haden Haden mango.jpg Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, United States  
Hatcher   United States  
Heidi   South Africa  
Himayat / Imam Pasand Mango ImamPasand Asit ftg.jpg India  
Himsagar Mango Himsagar Asit ftg.jpg Bangladesh, India, Nepal  
Ice Cream   United States  
Irwin Mango Irwin Asit fs8.jpg Australia, Costa Rica, United States, Taiwan, Japan (Okinawa) In Japan this variety is marketed as Apple Mango, and in the case of imports from Japan one needs to take care not to confuse it with the Apple Mango grown in the Philippines.
Ivory Mango IVORY Asit fs.JPG China Also known as the Jingu Ivory mango, or Ivory mango, this long, thin mango is named for its resemblance to a young elephant's tusk. It has thin skin, smooth skin. The flesh contains very few fibres, and constitutes approximately 82 percent of the fruit. It was first introduced into Yunnan, China from Thailand in 1914. The actual tree that was the first to be imported still grows, and during one year produced almost 500 kg of fruit.[10]
Jakarta Mango Jakarta Asit ftg.jpg United States  
Jean Ellen Jean Ellen mango.JPG United States  
Julie   Ecuador, United States A colourful, potato shaped mango with a sweet-tart flavour and a tall growth habit. Very popular in the Caribbean Sea, including Jamaica the British Virgin Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, and Barbados.
Kalepad   Andhra Pradesh, India  
Keitt Mango ATAULFO KEITT Asit.jpg Australia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy, South Africa, United States  
Kensington Pride Mango Kensington Asit ftg.jpg Australia, Italy, United States  
Kent Mango Kent Asit fs8.jpg Australia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, United States  
Lakshmanbhog   India  
Lancetilla Mango Lancetilla Asit fs8.jpg Honduras, United States  
Langra Vikramshila Agrovet 2 Langra Mango farm, Mathurapur, Bhagalpur Bihar.JPG India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,  
Lippens Mango Lippens Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Madame Francis   Haiti Large kidney shaped mango that ripens to a golden yellow colour with piquant flesh Commonly exported to the United States in spring; often a feature of NYC fruit stands.
Mallika Mango Mallika Asit fs.jpg India, Nepal, United States  
Manilita   United States  
Momi K[11]   Hawaii, United States Teardrop shaped with a narrow point. Ripens to a reddish orange blush. Flesh has creamy consistency.
Muhammad Wala   Pakistan
Mulgoba Mango Mulgoba Asit fs8.jpg India, United States
Neelam   India, Pakistan
Osteen Mango Osteen Asit ftg.jpg Italy, Spain, United States  
Palmer Mango Palmer Asit fs8.jpg Australia, Brazil, United States  
Parvin Parvin mango.JPG United States  
Raspuri Raspuri Mangoes.jpg Karnataka, India An extremely popular variety in South India, a fully ripe Raspuri mango harvested at the right time and ripened naturally can beat them all, including the Alphonso, in taste as well as amount of juice per mango. Many people especially Kannadigas do not even ask for any another variety except Raspuri in Bengaluru.
Rosigold Rosigold mango.JPG United States  
Ruby Mango Ruby Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Saigon Mango Saigon Asit ftg.jpg United States  
Sindhri Sindhri Mango.JPG Sindh Pakistan Sindhi Mango cultivated in Sindhri town Mirpur Khas district, Sindh province of Pakistan
Saharni   Pakistan  
Sammar Bahisht   Pakistan, India  
Sensation Mango Sensation Asit fs.jpg South Africa, United States  
Shan-e-Khuda Shan-e-khuda.jpeg Pakistan  
Sindhri Sindhri Mango.JPG Mirpur Khas district, Sindh province of Pakistan Sindhi Mango cultivated in Sindhri town Mirpur Khas district, Sindh province of Pakistan
Sophie Fry Mango SophieFry Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Southern Blush   United States  
Spirit of '76   United States  
Springfels Mango Springfels Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Sunset Sunset mango fruit.jpg United States  
Tommy Atkins Mango TommyAtkins05 Asit.jpg Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, United States, Venezuela One of the most commonly sold mangoes in the world. has extremely long shelf life. Hard and oblong exterior.
Torbert   United States  
Totapuri Mango Sandersha Asit fs8.jpg India  
Valencia Pride Mango VALENCIA PRIDE ATAULFO VALENCIA PRIDE Asit.jpg South Africa, United States  
Van Dyke Mango VanDyke Asit fs8.jpg Italy, United States  
Young   United States  
Zill Mango Zill Asit fs8.jpg South Africa, United States








What a peremptory building!  This was my first impression on the Local Judiciary Court Building which I visited recently. Then I noticed a beauty of the symmetry of the building which must be an expression of "Fair" or "Well-balanced" of the law.   Although design of the court buildings are all different, the impression of "well-balanced" of the building should be same to the Court buildings in Japan.


Anyway, I went there in order to obtain an abstract of traffic record for my part-time employer I'd probably work from next month. I'm very excited about my new addition of the job to guide more Japanese tourists.


Needless to say, economy of the island depends on the tourism pretty much. The more tourists we have here on the island, the better economy we get....although the traffic will be surely worse.


After some experiences of having Japanese guests as a tour guide, I regard a role of tour guide so important.  A good guide could have them spend money naturally on the island and could increase more repeaters of tourists which will cause island's economy better. 


On the other hands, if a guide gave them a bad impression, they don't want to come back here again.  Also if customers are truly satisfied with the sightseeing tour on Kauai, they may not be interested in coming back here.


So what a guide need to do is, I think, to give both satisfaction and dissatisfaction that they couldn't visit all attractive places. Of course, a guide is not necessary to intend to give dissatisfaction to the guests. It all depend on the much he/she know the island and its attractive places.


It would be a challenge for me to work for Kauai Outdoor Adventures & Tours Company which has "experienced tourists" customers who visited here before from Japan.  My very first job gonna be "snorkeling at Na Pali Coast!"   Once again, I'm very excited about this job but at the same time, I'm pretty nervous since I'm not a good swimmer!






Necessity is Mother of Invention

While staying in Japan, I saw many cool products I had never seen in Hawaii. One of them was a stapleless stapler called "Harinacs."  


I actually heard this product from a small request from my friend here.  She texted me that she wanted me to get a stapleless stapler in Japan.  When I heard it, I couldn't imagined it but thought it was a great invention!  So I ordered more than enough staplers by Amazon Japan instead of going to the store to look for the product.  I wished I could give this to more friends.


However, at the last minutes, I realized that my credit card company stopped my card because of the suspicious purchasing!  They thought it was the last thing for the Hawaii resident to buy products through Amazon Japan in Japan.  Then they stopped my card. I knew it at the very last minutes when I was about to leave my hometown for Tokyo.


Therefore, fortunately or unfortunately, I needed to go to the store to get it.  The reason why I wrote "fortunately" was because I recalled that my wife already bought this product when I saw it at the store.  Good thing I remembered!!!  I'm pretty sure I would be scolded if I bought too many of this!   I completely forgot this because  we didn't like this product and didn't use much.   It was true without any staples, it can bundle some paper.  It is really amazing.  However we didn't like it made a hole on the paper.


Anyway, let me show you how it works.


Usage is exactly same as a regular stapler.  Just place the stapler on the paper to stick together, and then grab and press the holders. That's it.

Then this stapler made a hole and with the paper of the hole, paper can stick together.


Once again, this is a great invention and we don't need any staplers ever!  However, we need to understand the reason why this was invented in Japan.


As you may know, Japan is one of the most strict countries about separating rubbish for recycling.  At hotel as a guest, you can throw away anything in the room but did you know hotel workers need to separate your rubbish after you leave?  


In Japan, rubbish are categorized as at least 7 kinds and the dates when they pick up rubbish are all set.   They are,


1. Rubbish that can be burned.

2. Kitchen Waste that can be a compost.

3. Rubbish that cannot be burned.

4. Bottle/ Bottle lid/ Can/ Glass

5. Newspaper/ Magazine/ paper

6. Hazard Waste such as Lighter, 

7. Plastic rubbish


This means you cannot throw away anything anytime.  Before taking rubbish out of the house, you need to separate it and keep it for certain time and then take them to the pick-up place.  In case you mixed them together and took them to the place, they will reject your rubbish!  Very strict!


So in Japan, you need to separate a staple and paper. Paper is categorized as recycled material and staples are for the rubbish that cannot be burned.  They pick them up on the different dates.  It sounds so annoying!  


But because of this feeling of annoying and necessity, somebody invented a stapleless staple!!!  This is just like a famous saying, "Necessity is mother of invention."


Fortunately or unfortunately, after coming back to Hawaii, I feel..... what a paradise that I don't need to separate rubbish!  This is really great for us but how about for Earth?  This made me think seriously about human and nature.  I'd better spend more energy to do recycling!






2016 Segaki Concert


 It has been 6 years since I started to help my family temple's O-Bon in Joetsu.  I visited members' houses to offer prayer at their family altars and helped cleaning the temple and graveyard.  Also I helped to have a Segaki Service and annual music concert in August 18th.


My father explained this concert was a kind of requiem which offers good music not only to members but also to the deceased and hungry ghosts to enjoy the music.  


This year, my niece who is a young talented violinist (2014 Winner of the Niigata Music Contest)played Japanese and some classic music together with my sister (Piano) and her husband (Oboe). 



While listening their performance of classic songs, I thought good music is always well-balanced of "Tension and relaxation" "strength and weakness" "Loud and quiet" and "fast and slow."  If these elements were well-balanced in the song, it must be a great music.






Reality is more strange than novels.

Aloha everyone from Japan.


Last night, I came back here to my family temple in Niigata where I am helping for O-Bon.  It is kind of strange that Ive just finished O-Bon in Hawaii and again I welcomed the deceased for O-Bon in Japan.


Is this just happening? or Fate?  Ive just experiend the most chicken-skin-story I ever had.


It was 5:00 in the morning that I happened to see two ladies were knocking on the front door of my family temple in Japan.  I knew some members come early to the temple in order to clean up their family grave on the very first day of O-Bon.  They clean up in the morning and later at night or afternoon, they come here again to offer prayer with their family members.


So I knew members come early but I didn’t expect strangers came to knock the door at 5:00 a.m. as soon as I woke up.  Later I found out they were members but it was really strange they asked me to come to their gravestone without saying `Good morning.`   Then they told me that they heard a cat was mewing from the stone.  They were wondering how did a cat get into the stone?  Since I like cats, I was curious to see a cat in Japan and I thought it would be easy to save a cat.


However when I got there, I found it looked impossible for a cat to get inside stones.  There was no gate, no hole, and no space for a cat to enter the stone.  It is really impossible.  So I told You only imagined you heard it.  But as soon as I told them there should be no cat, I surely heard a cat mewing.  Oh my goodness, there was a cat.  Because this mewing was so real, at least I thought there was a cat there.


Then my mother came to the grave yard of the temple. When I told her we heard a cat mewing, she told me a very surprising thing.



``Kosen, you know who is inside this grave? It was Mrs. Y.  Grandmom of this family loved cats and remember when you took cats from the park and kept them here, the grandmom brought a very good fish for your cats.


As soon as I recalled it, all of sudden, I thought this must be my cat Nyankichi who passed away in May 24 this year.  Nyankichi was 15 years old and she was always with us at Koloa Jodo Mission and she loved people, especially when we had a service.



Although we had a private service and dedicated a lantern for her but I couldn’t announce her death till now.   So I guessed she wanted attention and she came to Japan with me and sent message through the family who loved cats. 



When I told this story to them, they said they had chicken skins since they heard mewing so many times when they first went there.  But after my hearing mewing, we couldn’t hear it anymore. 



Honestly I am not sure about the truth.  We now know any cats cannot be in the gravestone!  But we surely heard mewing from the stones!  The truth I know is I am having O-Bon here again to welcome the depart souls.  And I realized reality can be more strange than novels.  My deepest prayer and aloha to Nyankichi.  Namu Amida Butsu






2016 Toro Nagashi

Many prayers, kindness, thoughtfulness and love became a form of lanterns last night at Toro Nagashi Ceremony.  Traditionally lanterns during O-Bon are signs to lead deceased coming back.  They say with lanterns' lights, deceased can come back home without getting lost and return safely to the place where they belong to.  So lanterns can be just like street lights of the road.  By lighting up the road, people can walk or drive home safely.  


I wondered, however, do deceased need lights when they come back here?  Can they get lost if we don't have lanterns?   My answer, after some thoughts, were "No."   I believe they don't need lights because they belong to the place where incredible lights are always lighting and shinning.  We call it Jodo or Pure Land and deceased cannot get lost.

So the truth is...the one who needs lights is actually us, who always have a tendency to get lost.  We need lights in order to live without our beloved deceased.  We need lights in order to live peacefully and happily in our daily life.  So the lights can be anything....Faith, Love, kindness, and aloha and with these lights, we can live better lives here without our dear beloved ones.   O-Bon is the time when we can realize lights we need and we can easily see those lights through the forms of lanterns we dedicated.

A big mahalo to those who sponsored lanterns, O-Toba and Ko-Toba.  Your kindness and aloha to the deceased will also help our temple to continue our O-bon next year.  Thank you so much!






Thank you very much for supporting our 2016 Bon Dance!


Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo Mission was finished last night.  My sincerest Mahalo to our members, friends, helpers and participants.  Thank you very much for supporting our Bon Dance. 


For this Bon Dance, I did work hard both praying and preparation such as writing O-Toba, Ko-Toba, making Toro Lanterns, O-Bon decoration for the temple, yard work, and shopping supplies.  I did without having a vacation during the summer.  I only took four days of day-off in order to do another job of guiding and entertaining my guests.  Therefore I couldn't have a chance for family trip.   But this year Bon Dance was absolutely worth spending my energy and time because I was able to deepen my gratitude for our members and helpers who also spent so much time and energies for our Bon Dance.   


I realized many of our helpers came to help by using their money of traveling, car and gasoline.  At the same time, they used their vacations or free time in order to help us.  The more they help us, the more they would lose their free time.  On the other hand, I'm paid for what I do for the temple.  So it is nothing special to work hard for the temple.  Rather, since I get a paycheck, I have to work hard, that's my duty.


Now I deeply realize I am living here thanks to the many people's kindness, compassion, good will, and sacrifices.   I thought I was the one who was helping people but the truth was the opposite.  People are always helping me and I'm so grateful for this fact. 


Once again, thank you so very much for your support to our Bon dance.  Because I've received so much kindness, I want to be kind to others more than ever.






Smallest Simplest Pleasures

It was so small and simple thing but I felt so much pleasure when I pulled out the weed recently.  As you see, this weed was not rooted in soil but rooted in graveled path.  So it was relatively easier to take out but yet I had a feeling of "get it."   Although this feeling didn't last, this was surely the moment when I felt euphoria which is usually produced by the endorphins.


All of sudden, I became so curious about any other simple activities which could trigger endorphins to produce and started to google.  Then I found the following pictures from the blog@karapaia.  Keywords were,

"Everyday life" "small pleasure" and "endorphin."

There were actually many moments of different activities listed on line,

such as;


1. The moment when you peel a thin protective sheet from the brand-new electric product.

2. The moment when you walk into a building with Ac and the wave of cooler air hits you for the first time.

3. The moment when you get something stuck in your teeth.

4. The moment when you can delete many tiles by matching Tetris puzzle.

5. The moment when you can clean dramatically by the high-pressure washing machine

6.  The moment when you feel neckless on your hand.

7.  The moment when you thought you woke up late but found out you had so much time.

8.  The moment when you were able to insert a bill to the vending machine smoothly for the first time.

9. The moment when you peel pre-paid card...


Also I found the following happy moments from


1. A shower with good water pressure

2. Lying in your own bed after a long journey.

3. Fresh baked bread and good quality butter

4. The first sip of a drink when you are thirsty.

5. Getting goosebumps from a song

6. Causing someone to laugh that you admire or look up to.

7. Taking your bra off at the end of the day

8. Starting a task and finishing it.

9. Getting a popcorn kernel out of your teeth.

10 Waking up for work, only to realize it's Saturday


By researching and listing up many types of activities, I've found they have at least one thing in common...


That is when we feel happiness, it always contain two opposite actions or conditions, such as "difficult and easy", "stick and release",  "push and pull" "Early and late", "hot and cold", "plus and minus" "dirty and clean" and so on.  Then when two different conditions or actions became one with good balance, this is the moment when we feel happiness.


So there are many kinds of small and simple pleasures, but they are all rooted in the condition of "well-balanced" which can be expressed as "middle path" in Buddhism.


This can explain why people want to have time of meditation by sitting in a temple.   This is because we are always making actions or working something, which naturally seek for "non-action" which can be some quiet time of meditation.


From the view point of balance, meditation is nothing but seeking for the balance of both dynamic and static, in and out, and work and rest, tense and release, and plus and minus.






Best Bon Dance

I think Bon Dance at Kauai Soto Zen can be the best Bon Dance in the state of Hawaii.   They have good funding, huge parking space, big ring for many dancers to dance spaciously, many helpers from the community and many great entertainments.... It was really like mini-county fair and I want to call it 3E-Bon Dance....
1. Exciting
2. Entertainning
3. Educational
Now I'm thinking....I know our temple cannot be like Kauai Soto Zen. We don't have many helpers. We have very limited parking space and no flying-saucer.  However, I sincerely wish to do my best for members, friends, and visitors to have good times at our temple.   At the same time, I thank all both living and dead for making our 2016 Bon Dance.  
Mahalo and hope to see you here at Koloa Jodo Mission on July 29 and 30, 2016.









The other day at Kapaa Jodo Mission, I really enjoyed meeting with their yardman.




Yardman: "Hi, you are so familiar. What's your name?"



Kosen: " My name is Kosen.  I'm a minister.  Nice to meet you!"



Yardman: "How do you spell?

Kosen:  "K - O- S- E- N, Kosen.  People call me sensei, too"



Yardman:  "What? You are Sensei? No way!"



Kosen: " Yes, I am sensei.



Yardman " No, you cannot be."



Kosen: " Well, I'm a teacher of Jodo Buddhism and people call me Sensei."



Yardman " Wait, Sensei means teacher? I thought Sensei meant Ninja Master...."



Both: Lol



Kosen: "You are right.  Sensei means a lot....




According to a Japanese dictionary online, "Sensei" means




1. The person who teaches academic disciplines, studies, music, sports, art and technique.   Especially, teachers at schools are called "Sensei."   Also the person who can teach you something directly can be called "Sensei" as a meaning of master.




2. The person who can lead people is called Sensei....such as medical doctor, CPA, lawyers, politicians, priests, and teachers in general. 




3. The person who are born before you.  i.e., Older person




Last but not least, sometimes, Sensei is used when you want both respecting and teasing.  For example, when I have something to ask my wife, I call her "Sensei!" 


It may be interesting to read Sensei and similar words at Wikipedia.











I've just made Sushi for Kapaa Jodo Mission which has a Sunday Service today from 10:00 a.m.


When I saw leftover Ebiko, I noticed a possible interesting fact of our instinct.

The possible fact is.....I used more green ebiko than red Ebiko.  Interestingly, same thing happened at Kapaa Jodo when we made Sushi for Bon Dance.  I saw helpers used much more green than red.  So I just thought this can be our natural instinct we try to avoid using red for food.   As you know, red is color of blood.


All of sudden, I remembered yesterday I had plenty of "red and white Chichi-dango" from Honda Family.  Let's see which color I ate more.......this can be another example that I try to avoid eating red color....Then I saw it.

That's right...I ate more white chichidango than red.  However what shocked me was .....I ate so many chichidango at night after Bon Dance at Waimea Higashi and now there are only four left!  Yes, I ate too much and I need to start diet today.







Mahalo Kauai Coffee!

Lately I saw the guy who were refilling Kauai Coffee with so many cups at Visitor Center.  Then I happened to can refill Kauai Coffee for free for life time at the visitor center as long as you have a Kauai Coffee Brand cup or pot. 


A big Mahalo Kauai Coffee!!!  I am now one of the refilling guys at the visitor center.







Kalalau Lookout

This is beautiful Kalalau valley which is one of the highlights of Garden Island.  I've been there at Kalalau lookout so many times but I never looked this Kalalau lookout from the ocean.  So one of my dreams was to photograph this lookout and entire valley from the ocean. 


Fortunately, I was lucky I had two chances to participate in the dinner cruise this year.  However weather was so cloudy and rough that I couldn't see the ridge at all.   Then another chance for the cruise came to me last week and finally I was able to capture the lookout from the ocean.


Now let's enjoy the quiz.....

Which is Kalalau lookout in the picture above?

Is it A? B? C? D?




To my surprise, the answer was....

Kalalau Lookout seen from the ocean.
Kalalau Lookout seen from the ocean.

I found a fence and a few people at the point A after cropping the photo.






Pure Land Life

Pure Land Life magazine is available at Jodo Shu Temples in Hawaii.  It's for free.  For members and friends, please pick it up at Koloa Jodo Mission or you may download the file.


Pure Land Life 2016 No. 29.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 15.2 MB





Virgin Road

I've been extremely busy for the past week since I started preparation for our O-bon at Koloa and a wedding ceremony for the young couple from Japan. 


At first, a bride left everything about planning to me, so I didn't make any special preparation.  I was just thinking to officiate the ceremony nicely.   However, my wife took my position of wedding planner.....then I became extra follow my wife's order to do this and that.


Chairs have to be white?  White chairs don't look clean.  We need white wedding aisle runners?   This planner is so meticulous.   I had to go to Kapaa Jodo Mission to borrow 21 chairs...while doing some other jobs simultaneously.   Then I spent several hours to find white aisle runners.


Absolutely no time for rest except eating and facebooking. (Yes, I do more facebook for which I write more nowadays.)  This was like marathon which consists of 100meter dash so many times.  But thanks to this planner many jobs were completed.  Getting to be nicer place for the wedding which will be held tomorrow.


By the way, wedding aisle runner is called "Virgin road" in Japan.  Yes, virgin road is one of the interesting "Wasei Eigo" which Japanese created by combining English words.  


For me, this white clothes look like white path of the nenbutsu faith.    I think I should explain...this is not a virgin road but a white path.  Being led by Amida Buddha's white path, the couple is going to be married in front of the Buddha.







Happy Fifth of July

Aloha!  I hope you have enjoyed the forth of July and today I would like to say "Happy Fifth of July!"


I know we don't say "Happy Fifth of July!"   However, this expression can be a reminder that each day can be celebration and you can be happy today.


Once again, happy Fifth of July to you and your family.






Preparing "Aloha"

"Sensei, how come you grow plants in small containers?"

This is one of the most frequent questions I receive from the visitors.


Then they understand very well whenever I answer like this, "Because this is not my land."


But now I have another answer.  "I have many planting pots because I want to express my aloha to the guests."

























This is the aloha I made yesterday after working all day long at the yard.

Yes, I wanted to make Aloha by planters.











Then I made another one in front of the Yagura.

By making Aloha, I thought preparing "O-Bon" is just like preparing "Aloha" to the guests....both living and the dead.  I'm now ready to spend lots of energy and time to prepare our O-Bon which will be held in July 29 and 30 here at Koloa Jodo Mission.


Past similar article;

(picture of Aloha)








4K Resolution

I don't know if it is finally or early but I started using 4K resolution camera after wishing to have it for a long time.  The test shooting at Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo was just amazing.  Also I was surprised to know YouTube had a option to see this video at 4K resolution.  


However I saw some demerits....because of memory size of video, it's hard to edit smoothly with my slow pc and also it takes time to upload it to the youtube.  At Kapaa, it took almost all day long to finish uploading this video. 


One of the reasons why I film every Bon Dance every year is for the future.  I want to capture this wonderful moment to pass it to the future.






Hepburn Romanization

Some time ago, Mr. Gerald Hirata asked me about Romanization of Japanese characters.  He is well-known as "Mr. Zenshuji (Kauai Soto Mission)" and also another "Mr. Bon Dance on Kauai" who is studying roots of Bon Dance in Hawaii.


His question was about spelling of the popular ending Bon Dance Song, called ”べっちょ.”   Is it "beccho" or "betcho"?   According to Mr. Hirata, he saw "betcho" in the professor's thetis and also saw "beccho" in my youtube channel.  He wondered which should be correct.


Actually I didn't pay any attention to the accuracy of spelling until I was asked.   Since there are several methods of Japanese spelling, I thought it didn't matter whether it was betcho or beccho.   However another opinion by the professor made me curious which should be correct.  One time, I enjoyed listing differences between priest and scholar, and I knew scholar should be right as far as accuracy is concerned.  


This is how I found an interesting website to convert "Japanese Hiragana and Katakana" into roman characters.   This website is called "Hebon-shiki-Henkan-kun" meaning "Mr. Hepburn romanization system Converter."  What you need is  just to type or "copy and paste" Hiragana and press "convert."  That's it.   Then roman characters will appear into the right space.


Hepuburn Romanization system is known as standard and then I knew it was "Betcho" for my first time.  According to Hepuburn, it should be "betcho."   


Then what is the meaning of Betcho?  Some people here including Mr. Hirata already know the meaning, but I'm still thinking whether I should  explain it or not since this might give you shocking of the hidden history of Bon Dance.


Hope to see you Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission tonight!!!  Aloha.






2016 Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission

Bon Dance on Kauai this weekend will be held at Kapaa Jodo Mission on Friday, June 17 and Saturday June 18.


The food booth will open around 6:00 p.m. and Bon Dance starts around 7:30 p.m.   There will be flying saucer, Saimin, BBQ Beef, Chili Rice, Pronto pup,  Inari, Andagi (Okinawan Dougnuts), Shave Ice and also some homemade baked goods such as Manju


Entertainment during intermission will be held around 8:45 p.m. as follows;


Friday, June 17

Taiko Performance by Joyful Noise led by Sensei Aki Conquest

Saturday, June 18

Sanshin Performance by Kauai Sanshin Club led by Alan Hiranaka


Parking space?   Yes, we have!!!

Parking for Bon Dance will be at Fall Fair!!! in front of Otsuka's.....a little far from the temple (less than 2min.)   Thank you FAIR for allowing us to use the parking.

My favorite food at Kapaa Jodo Mission are Andagi (Okinawan Doughnuts), Shave ice with Pineapple syrup (This is da best syrup) and flying saucer! 


Once again, please come to Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission this weekend.  Aloha!






Time or Money?

During the past three days, my computer got stuck again in editing Bon Dance videos and stopped responding frequently.  So I needed to delete or move in order to get enough space to do video-editing. 


To my surprise, there were 127,200 Files (4821 folders) in my picture folder and 877 files in my video folder.   No wonder it took time for such a simple job.  In order to look all files with pace of one photo per a second,  I'd need at least 127,200 seconds which is 35.33 hours!!!   So I gave up deleting unnecessary files.   Instead, I bought another 4TB hard drive at Costco.  Yes I chose to save time and to use money for the time.  

Now I can work with my computer and do blogging again!!!






Honen & Shinran

I've completed adding English subtitles to this special TV program called "Honen & Shinran: Treaures Related to the Great Masters of the Kamakura Buddhism." 


This was originally released in 2011 in commemoration of the 800th Grand Memorial of Honen and the 750th Grand Memorial of Shinran. 


Because this excellently introduces two great Pure Land masters and their thoughts and treasures, I couldn't resist the feeling that I wanted to share it with English speaking friends as soon as I watched it.  


First, I did rough translation in April 2014.  Later, I asked both Gary and Eric for the proofreading. Then I received a revised translation from Eric.  It was December 2014.  Eric wrote me he was sorry for the belated revision. But it was really nothing since it took me two years to start adding English subtitles to the video. 


Yes, I'm the one who is really sorry!!!  I think I am sometimes a very good engine but my engine takes time to start!!!   So the warming up time to edit this video was two years but actual time I spent to complete it was 7 hours.  With my busy Bon schedule, I did it today without eating lunch.


Since I completed my mission to translate Bon Dance Songs on Kauai, I'm now willing to do more translation for the sake of Jodoshu.








Bamba Odori


"Banba Odori" is a popular folk song in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture which is located in the island of Kyushuu.  This Japanese word "Banba" came from "baba" meaning "horse-riding ground" where a big Bon dance was once held to wish for the good harvest of rice.  Then Bon Dance at the horse ground(baba) came to be called "Bamba Odori."  As you know, "odori" means "dancing."


This song talks about beautiful scenery and rich history of Nobeoka City which was developed as a castle town.  The castle name is Nobeoka-jo, known as "Shiroyama (castle hill) ".  It has had a bell tower which let people know the time, six times a day.  Therefore this song invites people to come to listen to this bell in the first verse.  Also this song mentions a famous Tanka (Japanese short poem) Poet, Bokusui Wakayama has left excellent poems about his memory of this castle.


The second verse is about beautiful nature in Nobeoka.  Two outstanding rivers of Gokase and Oose, run through the town to pour into the harbor.  Then there are famous Onsen (hot springs) of "Hoori " and "Kitagawa"   On the river, there is huge fish trap called "Yana" and houseboat, too, to enjoy dinning.  It should be a good experience to eat delicious fresh grilled "Ayu" by the river.


The third verse is about current scenery of Nobeoka.  There is a beautiful mountain hill called "Atagoyama" which is selected one of the best 100 mountains in Japan.  From there, you can enjoy sceneries of four directions.  In the east, you'll see Oonada which is known as a very rough ocean and in the west, there are range of mountain hills.  Then in the south, there are many terraced fields and six giant factories in the north.  Currently, Nobeoka is famous as an industrial area of Japan. 

Then, this song invites people to stop by at Nobeoka when they come to Miyazaki. 






Nippon Daiko

I've just uploaded another Bon Dance video with English translation.  I used 2012 & 2013 videos at both Lihue and Hongwanji. 


For me, "Nippon Daiko" was very interesting since I couldn't find any basic information on this song through internet.  Whether it's Japanese or English, there was completely no information except some youtube videos including my video.   


So I still don't know who was a singer, when this was made and so on.  If you know information on this song, I'd very very very very very very much appreciate your post in the comment.  


The lyrics for this song is about to enjoy hitting Japanese drum harmoniously and happily with many other people.







Translation of Bon Dance Songs

When I was working at Jodo Mission of Hawaii in Honolulu in 1997, Bishop Chikai Shibamura once took me to the evening Dharma Talk at the Buddhist Study Center.   The speaker was Dr. Taitetsu Unno, a well known Shin Buddhist Scholar and minister all the way from Boston.   At that time, I was not so sure about my understanding in English, so I brought a cassette recorder with me.   What a brave man!!!...  I asked Dr. Unno if I could record the talk.  I remember he told me that I can feel free to record his talk.


Yes, I was right.  My understanding was so poor that I could only tell his talk and sense of humor were so outstanding.   Then I decided to do transcribing his talk from the recorded tape with a help of my English Tutor.


First, I wrote down words and sentences which I was able to catch from his talk and I took memo for what I was not able to follow.  There were actually more memos and blank and then together with my tutor, listened to the tape and filled the missing words.   As we worked together a little by little, I was so surprised to know there were actually some words that my English tutor couldn't catch and I often heard the expression from my tutor, "I think he said something like xxxx."   It was really surprising since I thought all American could catch what they are talking each other, but later I learned they never catch every single words while talking each other.  Rather for many parts, they omit and guess many words & meanings, and use assumption to understand what they are talking. 

As I stayed here longer, I got to know Japanese was same, too.   When I tried to transcribing lyrics from the Bon Dance CD.  There were many  words I couldn't catch with confidence.   Yes, they are Japanese which I speak and understand.  Most words are not difficult, but sometimes it was very hard to tell whether it is "wa" or "ga" from hearing.

In fact, when I saw some Japanese transcription of the lyrics made by Mrs. Aiko Nakaya through Mr. Alton Miyamoto.  There were some differences between hers and mine.  So I needed to listen to the CD again and again and again, but yet, there is still a part I'm not so sure which is correct.

I think as compared to English, Japanese should be easier to read but much more difficult to understand from hearing.  This is because Japanese doesn't have many consonants as compared to English.  As a result, there are much more homonyms (same pronunciation but different meanings.)   Therefore, when we need rightly to understand what they are talking , we need more knowledge of Japanese words, characters and their meanings.   Translation from lyrics is easy, but to have lyrics from hearing is hard

So the most difficult part of the translation of the Japanese Bon Dance Songs is to get correct Kanji characters of the lyrics.   

For example, one of the most difficult words from hearing was from a passage from "Tankou Bushi."

The word was "Shiki."   This word was used in the sentence "Shiki wo deru no o machi kane te...."

I am sure most Japanese don't know what is shiki?  Because there are many Kanji for Shiki, I needed to know which Kanji was used from the list below.


式 (Shiki =ceremony)




敷(Shiki = to lay)


死期(Shiki=One's last hour)




四季(Shiki=Four Season)


如き(Shiki=just like)




史記(Shiki, History Record)


始期(Shiki, Beginning Term)


織(Shiki=to weave)


鋪(Shiki=tunnel for a mine)


私記(Shiki, Private Diary


and so on and on.    Then I finally found out "shiki" in this song was written as (Shiki) which meant "a tunnel or passageway for a mine." 


Then another difficulty was figurative usage of the word or the metaphor for the special terms.  

For example, "Oya" is known as "parent."  Then "Mi-oya" or "Oya-sama" is a polite expression for the parent.  However, "Mi-oya" in the Jodo Buddhist tradition, this doesn't mean "parent but it's "Amida Buddha."  

This expression is included in the song, "Shiawase Samba."  I don't know if you know it or not, this my favorite song is actually a religious song.

I think everybody here likes the song "Shiawase Samba" and if you know some Japanese, you probably recognize the word "Shiawase" as "happy" or "happiness."   And most people imagine this song as "happy-go-lucky" song, don't you?


However, what this song means "Shiawase" is very religious.  Specifically, it talks about happiness to spread the teaching of Buddha and the word Amida Buddha is hidden in this song.  Then what does this song talk about?

Well, I've just uploaded a video of "Shiawase Samba" with English translation using last year's and this year's video!!!!  While hearing the song and looking dance, you can now see Japanese lyrics with English translation in the video above.  

Also I might start a series of lectures called "Let's learn Japanese with Bon Dance songs" to explain lyrics, word by word through my YouTube channel.  

Since I missed to take my vacation, I'm going to spend some time and energy for this translation project from now on.


Last apology to Mr. Alton Miyamoto who asked me to translate Bon Dance songs in English a few months ago.   I call Mr. Miyamoto as "Mr. Bon Dance of Kauai" who is so enthusiastic about sharing the heart of Bon Dance with many more people.  

He said he was hoping to distribute simple meaning of each song to the dancers but I'm sorry....I've just started!!!






Japanese Shodo Class

Sarusuberi Flower bloomed today and we had a Shodo-Class with a honeymooner from Minnesota and new friends from Lihue.


I guess my website is getting popular!? since most visitors come here through my website or lonelyplanet website.


Last week, there were some visitors from China, Vietnam, Canada and Oklahoma. I think I should take photos of our guests from now that I won't forget them!!!  Anyway, thank you very much for coming to our temple! 

I started this Shodo Class this year because I regard this is a wonderful way of practice Buddhism to learn middle way(well-balance), perseverance(practice after practice), and meditation (concentration.)


Well.... I'm not a Calligrapher but one of the students of my wife!!!  However, I can share some knowledge of Kanji and hidden wisdom through learning Kanji.   Although I prefer to a smaller class but I should like to welcome some more students in the future.  If you are interested in Japanese Shodo, please feel free to contact me!!!  Five more seats available.


Today, we learned characters of "big" "Middle" and "Small" and I hope everybody enjoyed shodo just like I did!!!   The characters I wrote was "Bon Dance!" and right after class, I uploaded a video of the first Bon Dance of this year on Kauai as linked below.


Now I'm working on the video of "Shiawase Samba" with English translation!!!    For those who are interested in more Bon Dance songs, please check my blog and YouTube channel!


Also this past blog post might be interesting to know more about the Sarusuberi (a pink flower.)






2016 Bon Dance on Kauai

Aloha Everyone! 2016 Bon Dance on Kauai will start tonight at Lihue Hongwanji!!!


The weather looks good so far this morning and hope it won't rain tonight and tomorrow night.


This year, I completely failed to reserve my vacation since I forgot to keep at least a week for the family trip.  Then I realized I've had enough service and appointments already.  So I'm planning to stay here for entire O-Bon season and participate in all Bon Dances here on Kauai.  Here is a schedule;


2016 Kauai Buddhist Council Bon Dance Schedule


June 3-4       Lihue Hongwanji      245-6262

June 10-11   Waimea Shingon     338-1854

June 17-18   Kapaa Jodo Mission     822-4319

June 24-25   WKHM-Waimea Temple   335-3195

JULY 1-2        No Bon Dance 

July 8-9         Kapaa Hongwanji      823-0949

July 15-16     Waimea Higashi Hongwanji    338-1847

July 22-23     Kauai Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji   335-3521

July 29-30     Koloa Jodo Mission     742-6735

Aug 5-6         WKHM-Hanapepe Temple   335-3195


Most temples start dancing at 7:30 pm right after the opening remarks and a short service.  Also food & game booths open around 6:00 p.m.. Intermission performance such as Taiko Drumming will be held around 8:45 p.m. at each temple. For more information, please make sure to contact each temple or check websites.


In relation to Bon Dance, there are two Toro Nagashi (Floating Lantern Ceremony) to be held on Kauai this summer.


Sunday, June 26 @7:30 p.m. Wailua River State Park hosted by Kapaa Jodo Mission


Sunday, August 7 @7:30 p.m. Kukuiula Boat Harbor hosted by Koloa Jodo Mission


For ordering lanterns, please contact me through this contact.

You may email me but I found out some emails were not delivered rightly but directly came to the junk mail box.  (This means I'm sorry I'm sure there should have some mails I've never read.) 


So the best way to contact me is through this contact or I personally prefer to receive a text at 635-8530. 


Anyway, please have a good O-Bon season and Aloha.







Cause and Effect


It's been almost one year since stores at Lihue's newest shopping center started opening.  This was a good event for Kauai since this produced many more jobs on Kauai.  Also this has brought more varieties of products and customers have more choices to go shopping.  However just like relationship between light and shadow, whenever there is merit, demerit is born at the same time.


I think one of the demerits of this new shopping center has been a traffic jam.  The westbound highway gets so jammed from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  


The other day when I was heading to the Garden Mortuary to officiate the service after sending guests off at the airport, it took 40 minutes to move for just a few miles....from this new shopping center to the human society.   I should not excuse but I was late at the service because of this bad traffic. 


I felt so ashamed of myself about being late at the service that I want to drive with much more time to spare from now on.  Also if possible, I'd like to avoid to drive that area in the evening.   This way, I can be far from the heavy traffic jam, at the same time, I cannot be a cause of the jam.   After all, the one who is caught in a traffic jam is both cause of the traffic and a victim of the traffic, too.

By the way, do we need a night roadwork sign during a day time???  I often see cars slow down as soon as they pass this sign during a day time.  But the roadwork is actually done at night.  I guessed this might be one of the reasons, too,  why a heavy traffic jam happens around this area.








In 2005, I welcomed a group of 11 people from Japan and took care of their staying and transportation on Kauai.   They stayed at Coconut Beach Hotel (currently Marriot Courtyard) and they were due to perform Japanese songs and play at Senior nursing homes and Koloa Jodo Mission.


What I did for them was to rent a big van (12 passenger-van) and asked our member to take suitcases to hotel.   After their checking-in, I drove a big van to take them to nursing homes and our temple.  It was no problem but on the next day, I had a trouble.  I forgot the reason why, but I couldn't get help from my wife and members for transportation.  


Then what I needed to do for them was to take 11 people to the airport after sightseeing.  At the same time, I needed to carry 11 suitcases to the airport.  Although van was big, its trunk was so tiny to carry only a few suitcases.   So I definitely needed somebody's help or needed to ask taxi to carry at least suitcases. 


Of course, it should have been easy if I made them to wait at the airport while going to pick up suitcases from the hotel.  Or I could just ask taxi to bring suitcases to the airport.  But of course, I didn't want my guests to waste time and spend extra money.  Instead of asking taxi, I thought and thought the most efficient way to carry both 11 people and 11 suitcases with minimum budget and time. 


Then I had a good idea.  "What a smart Sensei am I!" I talked to myself, when I found a way.


What I really did was,


1.  I asked the hotel to keep all suitcases for several hours after checking out.


2.  I took 11 people to sightseeing.


3.  I dropped them off at the Wailua Marina for the Fern Grotto Tour.


4.  While their going to the tour, I went to the airport parking to get my car (at that time a church van) which I parked there.


5.  I parked a big van at the airport parking and instead, I picked up my car and drove to the hotel.


6.  I picked up all their suitcases in my car and went back to the airport parking.


7. I parked my car with suitcases at the parking and picked up a big van again to drive to the Wailua River.


8. I picked up 11 passengers with a van and went to the airport.


9. I dropped them off at the airport near check-in counter and went to the parking.


10.  I picked up my car which had full of suitcases at the parking and drove to the place where I dropped them off.


11.  Return suitcases to them and say Good bye and Aloha! 


They were so impressed when they saw my car full of suitcases.  Most people expected to wait a long time at the airport for their suitcase to come.  But I came back so soon because I took a car from the airport parking.


I was so relieved when I sent them off.  This was like a moment when I solved a difficult equation.  Then I proudly talked to my wife about this event and asked if I was so smart.


But my wife was, maybe, smarter and told me, "No, you are not smart.  You just made a simple story to be more complicated." 


Now I think she was right. 






Master Honen & His Students (1)

I've made a list of Master Honen and his students. It was so interesting to know many prominent scholars and priests at that time studied and practiced Nenbutsu under the guidance and teachings by Master Honen (1133-1212).  They all loved and respected Honen and they called him true master.   However their understandings of the teachings of Honen started to be different each other, especially after the passing of Honen.  As you know, this caused their students to have new schools later, which include our denomination of Jodo Shu, Jodo Shin Shu which is one of the biggest Japanese Buddhist Sanghas and so on.


I am so impressed by the great presence of our Master Honen again.  The list above looked like a huge river for me.   Yes, because our master is such a huge river, it is naturally to have so many tributaries or branch rivers. This is just like a huge tree has so many branches.   Again, because master Honen was so outstanding, many people were so attracted and followed the master.  


This could order to know the entire river of master Honen, it's better to know the other branch rivers of denominations, too.   By knowing more about others, we should know more about ourselves. 


It is my hope through the studying of Honen's students, I can be more flexible to accept others and cultivate humanity.  At the same time, I wish I can offer help to more people through what I am learning from master Honen.  Namu Amida Butsu.







Name of the Temple

I recently received a question from Germany.  It was about Japanese name for our temple, Koloa Jodo Mission.   What do you call Koloa Jodo Mission in Japanese?  I thought this was a very interesting question since most Japanese Buddhist temples' names here in Hawaii have been registered and called as "Mission."  


But of course,  the word "Mission" is not Japanese.   According to the Web dictionary, an English word "Mission" means "an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel" or "the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.  Then I knew the word mission came from the Latin "Mittere (miss, mit, mess)" meaning "to send."   So the word "mission" indicates "originally, we are not local but are sent from different place."   


Anyway, a Japanese name for our temple is "Koloa Jodo-in."  The pronunciation of "in" is same as an English word "in."   However it doesn't mean "in."  "In" in Japanese means "a huge building surrounded by fences", which used to indicates "temple" and later "nobility."   Then "Jodo" means "Pure Land",  as you know.  


Therefore "Koloa Jodo In" in Japanese can be translated into "Koloa Pure Land Temple" in English. 


Generally speaking, most Jodo temples in Japan have long formal name which usually includes three different titles.   They are San-gou(山号), In-gou(院号), and Ji-gou(寺号).  


For example, the formal name of "Chion-in知恩院" is called "Kacho-zan (San-gou), Chion-in (In-gou), Otani-dera (Ji-gou) 華頂山知恩院大谷寺"and another Jodo Shu head temple, Zojoji has a formal name of  "Sanen-zan (San-gou), Koudo-in (In-gou), Zojoji (Ji-gou)三縁山広度院増上寺."


First, "San-gou山号" literally means "Mountain Name."  This indicates temples used to be on the mountains and this custom that a temple has a name of mountain started in China around 6th century when many Buddhist temples were built.  They say because there were so many similar temples' names that they added a location of the temple. 


Next "In-gou院号" is a title which were given to the temples of the imperial families.  As "in" literally means "huge buildings" which were owned by nobilities, later, retired emperor was also called "in."  Then during "Edo era", "in" came to mean many more people with high rank or status.  So the "In-gou" was a very honorable title which indicates receiving sponsorship from the nobilities.


Last, "Ji-gou寺号" is a title which simply indicates a name of temple.  Ji-gou is usually named by the founder of the temple to mean an important message or a role of the temple.


Among three titles, Ji-gou is the most popular and most temples names are called by "Ji-gou." 


I don't know why Koloa Jodo Mission didn't have both "San-gou (mountain name) and "Ji-gou."   In 1985, when a new temple building was built, Rev. Kodo Tanaka named "San-gou" of our temple for the first time in the history of Koloa Jodo Mission.  It was named as "Shuho-zan" after the artist Shuho Koiwai who donated ceiling arts to our temple.

This is the character for "Shuho-zan."  Yes, "San-gou" is usually framed and displayed at the entrance of the temple.  Mr. Shuho Koiwai passed away a decade ago, but his name and his art works are living here at Koloa.







As you know, computer's response will be really bad as you get more files, software, photos and data on your computer. 


What is happening to me is just like my slow computer.  I'm working so slowly nowadays because I have more than enough files, books, photos and videos to work for everyday.  In addition, I have too many things to collect such as plants, empty boxes, plastic cups, newspaper and so on. 


But I started to realize this should be the high time to reduce my things.  Otherwise, I am spending too much time just to find what I need.   In a sense, I'm really stack with too many things.


I'm so sorry this is the reason why my response is slow.  

From my curiosity, I put all external memories and hard desks on the table and then I calculated total number of the data.  It was over 12TB!!!


When I started using my first digital camera, Terabyte was like Universe for me.  Size of a photo was as small as 0.3 MB.  Then size of the memory went higher and higher... 2MB, 8MB, 16 MB....2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64 GB and 128 GB.


I never thought the age of terabyte would come.  But it has come.   As you may know, after Terabyte, it comes Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte and Yottabyte....I wonder when do we need petabyte computer in the future?









Some time ago, I knew there was a function called "Analytics" at my Youtube Channel.   I felt so interesting this Analytics since this gave me information such as demographic, locations of the viewers, total watch time, devices of the users, numbers of share, and so on. 


Then I knew I had a total of 701 videos and during the last 28 days, total watch time by viewers was 65,979 minutes and 27 videos were shared by somebody's websites or social network. 


However, among them, I paid the most attention to the average view duration.  Yes, the average view duration time for my videos was only 5 minutes! 

I thought this could mean no matter how much energy and time I spent for the videos especially for my Dharma Talk Videos, people easily quit watching them and change channels if they were not interesting.  I can tell their feeling because I do the same thing when I do watch videos. 


Because YouTube always suggest soooooooooo many numbers of videos, I want to watch them one after another however I have limited time to watch. 

So what I do is I quit watching a video as soon as I found out it was boring.  Yes....Five minutes was a long enough to tell....whether it worth watching or not.


This shall be a good reminder I should have a very good beginning at my talk or presentation so that I could transmit what I really want to share.






Customer is God in Japan!?

In English, there are many words meaning "customer."  Depending on the place and situation, customer can be called "caller", "guest", " client", "passenger", "visitor", "customer", "audience" and so on. 


In Japanese, on the other hand, they are all called "Kyaku客" or "O-kyaku-san (polite expression)" or "O-kyaku-sama (the most polite.)"   So "Kyaku" is very convenient word for Japanese however when we need to translate this Kyaku,  it's not so easy.


For example, a famous saying. "Okyaku-sama wa Kami-sama desu(お客様は神様です)" is usually translated as "Customer is like God."   


However, a Japanese Singer, Haruo Minami who first said this saying had a different intention.   For him, "Kyaku" was not a customer but an audience.   What he really meant was "he always sing songs with deep respect as if audience were like God."   


Interestingly after this saying became so famous in Japan,  this saying came to mean "Customer is God."   And this became an important attitude for many Japanese stores and companies.


Indeed, I often hear "People in Japan are so polite" from local people who visited Japan.  I do agree with them since Japanese always bow and smile.  Here in Hawaii, workers at stores are very friendly but they are sometimes too talkative.  They talk to the customers even though they sometimes have a long line.  Also they sometimes don't show appreciation to the customers.  


However in Japan, they are trained not to talk to the customers but to concentrate on the customer service with respect.  Just before starting checkout at the store, they bow and after completion of the register, they deeply bow with words of appreciation, "Arigato gozaimashita."  They never talk to the customer like here.


I think the reason why Japanese customer service is so good, is hidden in this saying "Customer is God!" 

Yes, because customer is like God who is the most supreme, they can naturally serve them the best.  It is not to President nor King nor Queen, but again it's to God!

But I'm sure some people might not like customer service in Japan but they might prefer to customer service here.